A young victim of a bicycle jacking in Nanaimo is back on the trails after the bike’s manufacturer replaced his stolen ride with a new one Thursday.
Ewan Snikkers, 9, had his bike forcibly taken from him near the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre on March 25 while he and his brother were standing at the Third Street and Wakesiah Avenue intersection. A man came up and asked the boys what time it was. He then said, “Time to steal your bike,” threatened to punch the boy and then took his bike and rode off on it.
The bike was a Devinci Jackson worth about $700, which Snikkers had worked to pay for himself.
When news of the theft got out, people came forward offering donations to help the boy replace his bicycle.
Devinci Bikes and Coal City Cycles in Nanaimo went a step further and decided to replace the boy’s bike with the same model as the one he’d had stolen.
“Between Devinci and us we got him a new bike,” said Robin Dutton, owner of Coal City Cycles, which sells Devinci, a Canadian bicycle brand. “We had one in stock and we just gave it to him. They were customers of ours to begin with and we see the family on a weekly basis, so yeah, we were able to take care of them quite quickly.”
With the bike replaced, the family opted to direct the money already donated to the Steve Smith Legacy Fund. Smith was a world champion downhill mountain bike racer from the Island who died in 2016. His family set up the fund to help talented young athletes reach their potential.
To learn more about the fund, please visit www.gofundme.com/23k7fus.
Dutton estimated about $700 was donated by the public.
Ewan’s mother Quinn Verbrugge said Smith was an inspiration to Ewan’s older brother to get into mountain biking and the boys had always looked up to him.
“You know, they help out a lot of kids in need and we thought it would be good to go there, so that more people could enjoy it,” Verbrugge said.
Snikkers, who worked for his uncle’s tree farm and did chores at home for two years to save enough cash to buy the bike that was stolen, is surprised to be back in the saddle.
“I felt really good about getting the bike,” Snikkers said. “I thought I had to pay for a new bike, but then they just gave me a new one.”