Christine Chartrand and her partner Stu are shocked at the brazen theft of their two racing bikes while they quickly ran inside the Nature’s Fare in Penticton to grab a few items on a busy Saturday, Oct. 9.
Around 3:20 p.m., they had parked near the front doors of the grocery store and the mall parking lot was bustling with people. They had a few items to grab and weren’t in there for more than a few minutes.
“Usually one of us stays with the bikes even if they are locked up as we know Penticton is not a safe place to leave bikes unattended. It was uncharacteristic of us but we were just so excited that we forgot,” said Chartrand.
The couple were just about to leave town for a bike trip to Rossland. They had won a two-night stay at the Josie hotel through the Freedom Bike Shop summer Enduro series.
Someone approached them in the store to tell them their bikes had just been stolen.
“We came outside to see several women standing around the truck looking concerned. We were being told they took the bikes and one went up the street and the other went towards McDonald’s.”
There were side cutters laying on the ground at the back of the truck indicating they were going to try to take those bikes, locked or not. Christine and Stu jumped in the truck and raced around to find their bikes. They also filed a police report.
They later learned that some women in the parking lot tried to intervene. One woman tried to physically stop them and the thief pushed her off of him. Another woman tried to chase after them but they were too quick.
The witnesses said it happened very fast and they were all pretty shook up about it, said Chartrand.
Stu spoke to a few people who appeared to be living on the streets and they were helpful in offering addresses where they could be, she said.
“We went to the motel across from Wal-Mart and the administration was very helpful in checking security footage and taking our information.” Compass Court was not willing to offer assistance.
The couple searched encampments and the regular known places. Everyone was kind, they said. They offered a reward.
But so far no bikes have turned up.
“This is clearly a first-world problem and ultimately we will be fine but it’s just really sad that bike theft is turning into our town’s legacy,” she said.
The pair did want to offer a huge thank you to the people who tried to intervene and to those who helped in the search of the bikes or offered possible sightings.
Two weeks ago a daughter stole her mom’s cruiser bike back after someone spotted the unique bike. The bike had been spray painted to a different colour but was otherwise in good shape.
Bike theft is so active in Penticton there is a Facebook group dedicated to it called Stolen Bikes Penticton.
Police say people should register their bikes with project529, an online bike registry.
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