July 10, 2014 8:00 pm
Updated: July 10, 2014 9:50 pm

Vancouver bike theft victim runs into bike thief while out for coffee

VANCOUVER – Chris Hilliard was asleep in his Olympic Village condo last Friday when he heard some noise outside on the street below.

“My first thought was ‘is that my bike being stolen?'” said Hilliard. “Because I knew I forgot to put it away downstairs the night before.”

Turns out, Hilliard wasn’t having the best week. A water pipe had burst in his building the night before and as he had to rush home from work, he had just locked his bike up outside.

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When he looked out his window early the next morning he saw the thief cutting his lock and making off with his $600 bike.

Hilliard didn’t immediately follow the thief, but decided a short time later to go out and get a coffee from a Gastown coffee shop, which he knew would be open early.

As he was driving to get his coffee however, he spotted a familiar bike being ridden down the street.

“I thought ‘that can’t be my bike’,” said Hilliard. “That can’t be the guy.”

Turns out it was.

Hilliard decided to tail the guy in his car. “I just didn’t want him to get away,” he said.

He followed him to a laneway off Hastings and Columbia Street and at first he wasn’t sure what to do.

“I was going to interact with him and confront him,” said Hilliard, “but that could escalate quickly.”

“It was not worth the risk.”

So he called 9-1-1 and shortly after an officer and a K-9 unit showed up.

Police arrested a 39-year-old man who is very well-known to them. He has been charged with theft under $5,000.

Const. Brian Montague said Hilliard did the right thing in this case.

“Not only does he get his bike back but we take a bike thief off the street,” said Montague, adding that police do not encourage anyone confronting a thief on their own.

Hilliard is just happy to have his bike back.

“I’m very lucky,” he said. “My wife was very surprised. I went out for coffee, came back with my bike and she’s like ‘what?'” he laughed.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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