A gathering of homeless people with a number of bikes on the green space of the Penticton Library last month. (Mark Brett — Western News Staff)

Bicycles an ‘easy currency’ for thieves in Penticton

Penticton RCMP said they have a growing number of stolen bikes that have been recovered

There is a different form of currency rolling around the region.

It’s not cryptocurrency or counterfeit cash, it’s bicycles.

“It is probably an easy currency, an easy thing for people to steal and trade. All of that contributes to (bike theft). Usually, they are left in places where people don’t have their direct eye on it. They are all worth something so why not take advantage of it? That is the only thing I can surmise,” said Const. James Grandy as to why bike theft seems so common in the city.

Grandy said he was unsure of the statistics for the year but he believes there has been “a lot of it going on.” He added that is is also easy for thieves to disguise the stolen bikes by using spray paint to change the colour and then they dump it once they don’t need it anymore.

READ MORE: Locking down bike theft in Penticton

“You ride it around for a little while until you get another one and it is the easiest mode of transportation,” said Grandy. “I think it is no different than any other piece of property, it just happens to be that there is a lot of people in Penticton that have bikes. They take the locks off pretty easily it seems.”

The RCMP said they have a large stash of recovered bikes at the Penticton detachment, but getting them back to their rightful owners is not so easy.

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“They all end up going to PDSCL (Penticton and District Society for Community Living) because they are not registered. Not even registering, if you bought a $3,000 bike do you not have the bill of sale? A serial number? Or, can’t you go back to the store and get it? Those are things that frustrate us in returning the bike. When we have that on file, very successful,” said Supt. Ted De Jager.

READ MORE: Okanagan experts share bike security tips

“It is a currency. A $3,000 bike has a $500 derailleur and that derailleur will sell for $50. If it is too good to be true it really is. You know that derailleur you are buying for $50 is stolen because you know it is worth $500, but yet people do it. This notion that it is just amongst the street people isn’t really correct. It is marketed, its a currency, its eBay or Kijiji or whatever.

The best thing to do is to make sure it is locked up properly and that you have recorded the serial number or taken a picture of it on your phone just in case your bike is stolen and then recovered by RCMP.

“This is a Penticton thing, a Vernon thing, a Vancouver thing, it’s a Toronto thing—you can’t leave your mountain bike in the back of your pickup truck overnight anywhere. I don’t know who would think that is a safe thing. I would encourage people to secure their property,” said De Jager.



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