Nanaimo Mounties cycled a chronic bike thief into the justice system after a man saw a suspect steal a bike form his apartment building early Wednesday.
The caller who lives in an apartment at 220 Townsite Rd. called 911 just before 4:30 a.m. after seeing two men approach his building’s parking lot.
The witness then saw one man jump the fence, snap the lock off of an outside bicycle locker and walk off with a bike.
Police nabbed the alleged thief with the bike a few minutes later, but his accomplice is still on the loose.
Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said the 22-year-old male arrested is well known to police.
“He’s been involved in the procurement of bikes for some time, so we weren’t surprised when he was the one captured with the stolen bicycle, ” O’Brien said. “What’s good about this is the witness also called from a safe vantage point and provided us with updated information so our members got there and they knew exactly what they were looking for.”
O’Brien said at least 12 bikes representing a total value of $25,000 to $50,000 are being stolen in Nanaimo each week.
The bikes are being disassembled and sold for parts or being re-built into custom bikes for specific buyers.
“There’s a handful of guys who are involved in this industry,” O’Brien said. “One or two are involved in the distribution of bikes for drugs. The others ones are for parts.”
Police recently found 16 stolen bikes at a drug bust in Departure Bay.
O’Brien said it is extremely important for bicycle owners to invest in heavy steel locks and to photograph their bikes and record the bikes’ serial numbers.
“Take a picture, store it on your iPhone, whatever you do,” O’Brien said. “If the bike is unique and been modified let us know about that because it will stand out. Otherwise it’s a [police] file number and the bikes are gone.”
The suspect was scheduled to appear before a provincial court judge late Wednesday to face recommended charges of theft under $5,000, break and enter, possession of break-in tools, plus charges for any conditions he might have breached from previous court orders.
The second suspect was last seen wearing a black hoodie with a fur lining, and riding a short bike with long handlebars.
Anyone with information about this incident or the suspects is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.