‘It meant the world to me’ says West Shore RCMP officer about returning stolen bike

'It meant the world to me' says West Shore RCMP officer about returning stolen bike
WatchGetting a stolen bike back isn't common. But eight months later? Tess van Straaten tells us why a West Shore RCMP officer made it his mission.

Finding a stolen bike became a very important investigation for a West Shore RCMP officer.

“It was more than just a stolen bicycle,” says Const. Shawn Hooper of the West Shore RCMP.

That’s because the bike theft victim, a young man named Jason, had just lost his step-father.

Jason had saved up a long time to buy his bike, which he rides to his job at Lowe’s and when the bike was stolen from outside the Langford store last September, he was devastated.

“I was sad because it was my precious bike,” Jason says. “I worked really hard for it. It was like a go-to friend for me.”

Const. Hooper — who’d sat with Jason and his family for several hours after his step-father’s death — made it his mission to get the bike back.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough evidence to be able to figure out who did this and how to go after them so the expectations were unfortunately low,” he says.

Fast-forward eight months and an undercover police officer on a property crime sting operation in Victoria’s north end arrests a man on a bike.

“The bike wasn’t his, he said it wasn’t his and it just became a matter of finding out who it belonged to,” Const. Jess Moretto of the Victoria Police Department explains.

Const. Hooper had put a very detailed report in the Canada-wide police registry for stolen bikes. But he had almost given up when he got the phone call from Const. Moretto.

“I was ecstatic and it meant the world to me,” Const. Hooper says. “It was pretty moving, to be a part of somebody’s life, like the way we do is a great honour. It’s a huge thing.”

And both officers wanted to be there to give the bike back to Jason.

“One of best things I get to do is people give their stuff back and learning more about Jason just makes it all the more special,” Const. Moretto says.As for Jason, he now has big plans for this bike.

“I want to bike across Canada to conquer cancer — that was my whole dream,” he says.

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Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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