Posting an ad on Kijiji can sometimes be an invite for thieves, and a Calgary man learned that lesson the hard way this weekend.
Kyle D’Agostino posted an ad on Kijiji for his bike and listed it at $1,200 on Sunday.
A meet was arranged by an interested Kijiji buyer, who showed up to D’Agostino’s house at around 12:30 p.m. on Monday.
It seemed like your typical casual meeting between a kijiji seller and buyer, and it was all captured on D’Agostino’s surveillance video.
A man is seen riding up D’Agostino’s house on a bike, rings the door bell, and asks to see the bike listed on Kijiji.
“I went into the basement with him and brought the bike out of the house and then he left his bike there,” D’Agostino said. “That’s how he got to my house; he left it for collateral and then rode off with my bike. I notice him turning right at a yield sign….and then he never returned. I couldn’t find him after that.”
D’Agostino thought it seemed reasonable to let him go, since the bike he left behind was just as nice but the man never came back from his test ride.
Just 24 hours after posting his ad, D’Agostino’s bike was stolen right under his nose.
The bike the thief left as collateral was stolen, too.
D’Agostino filed a police report and provided officers with the surveillance video in hopes that he might get his bike back.
Calgary police said they’ve seen a spike in online bike test ride thefts in the last two months.
“It’s always a challenge when you have that motivated offender,” said Const. Paul Teworte. “I can certainly understand why Kyle would have accepted the bicycle as collateral — that’s something I would have done myself, thinking that the individual that ended up stealing Kyle’s bicycle was being legitimate.”
Police said even a drivers’ licence is poor collateral, because licences can be stolen.
Officers say snapping a photo is better. They also encourage online buyers and sellers to meet at a local police station parking lot for all transactions.
There are more than 370,000 Kijiji listings in the Calgary area. Before buyers and sellers meet, Kijiji Canada recommends the following safety tips;
- Transact locally.
- Deal in cash or a secure transfer platform like PayPal via the Kijiji app.
- Always remember: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Should someone find themselves in a situation where their bicycle is stolen, Kijiji suggests the following best practices:
- File a police report. Have an officer come and take down the report, if you can, or go to the station with your information, including the bike’s serial number, make, model, and photos of the bike for the report. If you have any video surveillance of the incident — or know there were cameras in the area — include that information with the report.
- Register that your bike was stolen with Bike Index, safebikes.org, and any local registries. Include as much information as you can.
- Set up multiple Google Alerts with information matching your bike. That way if your bike turns up for online sale — or if a local chop shop gets raided — you’ll be alerted.
- Spread news about your stolen bike far and wide throughout your social networks. Post a photo of your bike on Facebook and Twitter and get your friends to repost. The more eyes you have on the streets looking for your bike, the far more likely you are to uncover it.
Police continue to investigate D’Agostino’s misfortune and he hopes the images from his CCTV will help lead to an arrest.