Bike thefts in Kelowna and the Central Okanagan continue to be a problem and a priority for RCMP, who say there are thieves in the area whose specialty is stealing bikes.
Stats show that bike thefts are on the increase. In 2017, more than 470 bikes were stolen in the Central Okanagan. That number climbed to a staggering 704 last year.
But RCMP have put dent in the climbing number of bike thefts with the arrest of a Kelowna man who was no ordinary bike thief.
RCMP say the suspect was targeting the Pandosy Street area in the Lower Mission of Kelowna, where he would find a locked bike and take a picture of it.
“Essentially, they were finding bicycles that they had not yet stolen, posting them for sale on-line and then, when they found an interested buyer, they would then go back, steal the bicycle and then sell it,” said RCMP Cpl. Kent Hall.
And if the bike wasn’t there, he would wait because he knew it would return.
“Sometimes the bike would not be available when he would go back. Maybe the person (owner) had gone home, but the people who were biking to work and locking their bikes up, he knew those bikes would be there daily. And he was using those as opportunistic to steal the bikes and sell them on-line,” Hall said.
The suspect has been identified as Kyle Andrew Permes, a prolific offender who is currently wanted on an outstanding warrant for break and enter and theft under $5,0000. When RCMP busted him, they say they found a bunch of stolen goods in his possession, including stolen wallets and bikes.
For cracking the case, Hall was issued an award by Crimestoppers for police officer of the year.