Stolen bicycle returned to owner after 28 years

Stranger things have happened, but not to Tony Roche.

Stranger things have happened, but not to Tony Roche.

The Esquimalt resident figured he’d never see his 10-speed Norco bicycle again after it was stolen in broad daylight outside a Victoria pub 28 years ago.

Fast-forward to two Fridays ago when Roche arrived at the Victoria Police Department to pick up his bike that had been turned in by a citizen in late November.

When Roche laid eyes on it “it all came back. Man, that was a long time ago,” he said.

His reaction? “Kind of exciting, not Lotto exciting,” Roche quipped. “(The story behind the bike has) got a twist to it for sure.”

Roche, now 49, was 21 years old when he and a friend rode their bikes to a Douglas Street pub. When they came out to ride home, Roche’s bike, a gift from his older brother, was gone.

“Mine was locked and my buddy’s, which was a way better bike, wasn’t,” said Roche. “We were killing ourselves (laughing). Why would they take the locked one? That’s the irony of it.”

When his wife Cheryl told Roche last Thursday that police had recovered his bike, he immediately thought of his electric bike, which had recently been stolen.

Where the 10-speed has been all these years is a mystery to police, who traced a nine-digit number stamped on the bike’s frame back to Roche.

The bike’s chain is rusty and the tires are flat and bald, reason why Roche is wary of taking it for a spin. But the bike may still have some years left in it.

“I’m going to throw some money at it if it’s worth fixing and then donate it,” said Roche. “I’m sure some kid will say, ‘Wow, this is cool.’

“Maybe all his friends will have brand new BMXs and his will be an original.”


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