Paul Rudolph received a surprising phone call from the Victoria Police Department last week.
He was told that they had found his bike, just hours after Rudolph reported it missing in the first place.
“It was pretty amazing,” Rudolph said. “I was elated.”
Rudolph, who manages Fairfield Bicycles, said he’s never had a car and always commutes via bicycle. Three of his bikes were stolen from the storage unit at his downtown residential property sometime between Wednesday night and Friday morning.
“They must have gotten in through the back door of the building, which is a heavy metal door with high-security keys,” Rudolph said. “The bikes were half-way up a 60-foot set of stairs in a closet that wasn’t locked up, because we didn’t expect it to be stolen.”
By Wednesday, the VicPD found two of the three stolen bicycles, at a value of $4,000. Another bike and a bike trailer are still missing, but Rudolph is hopeful.
The returns are part of an increased effort by VicPD to return stolen bikes after a long list of complaints came forward.
“Stolen bikes easily out trump stolen money from banks or stolen vehicles,” said VicPD spokesperson Bowen Osoko.
Since patrol officers adjusted their strategies on Jan. 21, more bikes than ever have been returned to rightful owners, with five returned in the first 24 hours alone.
“I have never seen five bikes returned in one day before,” said Osoko. “That’s a return value of $10,000.”
Osoko added that one bike was valued at $5,000 while the rest were between $1,000 and $2,000.
Patrol officers are taking more time to speak with any suspicious people with bikes, and are being more proactive about posting stolen bicycles to the popular Facebook group “The Stolen Bike Avengers.”
Additionally, VicPD is strongly encouraging people to register their bikes with the police in case it’s ever stolen.
“People can print off a form and drop it off, and it makes it a lot easier to find them later,” Osoko said.
Rudolph echoed Osoko’s recommendation, saying that anytime people purchase a bike at his shop he gives them a registration form. He also recommended parking bikes in public, visible spaces when out and about, andto use chains or locks versus cables to lock them up.
VicPD is also advising people to check up on their bikes in the winter months, even if they think their bike is safe in storage.
“We called up a student recently who also didn’t know his bike had been stolen from a storage locker, and it was worth $2,200,” Osoko said.
People can learn more about registering their bikes at vicpd.ca/bike
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