Penticton RCMP is hoping the recent arrest of three people and the seizure of thousands of dollars worth of stolen, high-end bicycles may impact the ongoing thefts of two wheelers.
Police were recommending eight charges of possession of stolen property and two others of trafficking in stolen goods against a 33-year-old man arrested Monday night at his Municipal Avenue residence.
(read more: Police warning Penticton residents about bike thefts)
Const. Chad Jackson of the five-member RCMP Targeted Enforcement Unit said Tuesday the investigation began late afternoon on Saturday.
A uniformed officer pulled over a truck with two bicycles in the back near the Municipal Avenue residence and both were subsequently determined to have been stolen, one earlier in the day and the other the previous month in Summerland.
A 33-year-old female and 31-year-old male were arrested at the time.
Jackson and the same officer returned to the Municipal Avenue house at 11:30 p.m. that night with a search warrant and seized four more bikes, four sets of golf clubs and other items including two wake boards.
Total value of all six bikes was about $12,000 and the golf clubs, $5,000.
The 33-year-old male, who was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, does not have a criminal record.
“He was known to a degree but he was not high on our radar,” said Jackson. “We believe he is acting as a fence or a middle man for the property. We think he was buying bikes for 10 to 20 cents on dollar and reselling them.
“There are a lot of prolific people in town, with how easy it is to buy and sell things on internet and the different platforms.”
His advice to purchasers is to be cautious.
“If it looks like it’s a better deal than it should be maybe use your common sense, if you’re buying a $5,000 bike for three or four hundred dollars and the person looks like they’re pretty shady or they shouldn’t own that bike than sometimes your gut feeling might be true or just use your common sense either report it to us,” he said. “So for the people who are buying these bikes for two or three hundred dollars you’re taking a risk of getting your bike seized and being out your two or three hundred dollars and getting a court date.”
Wherever possible people are advised to keep bicycles inside or in a secure area, especially when travelling.
“This just sort of makes it a perfect storm for thieves, they’re able to identify these vehicles with out of area licence plates and it just sort of makes it easy pickings,” said Jackson.
Another factor hampering police is the number of bikes and other items which do not have any identification.
Owners are urged to have serial numbers, photographs and where possible have a number such as a driver’s licence engraved on the item.