It turns out the old saying that thieves will “take everything that isn’t nailed down” is not true in Vancouver, where a bike theft suspect was recently spotted carrying around some extra weight.
“I was just kind of shocked,” Olympic Village resident Mark Fromson said of the Aug. 19 incident.
“I grabbed my camera and I moved to the other part of my deck and snapped a photo of him.”
Fromson’s photo shows a man walking near Columbia Street and Walter Hardwick Avenue at about 8:30 a.m. with a bicycle still secured to a metal bike rack.
His False Creek neighbourhood is used to bike theft, he said, but he’s never seen anybody take a whole bike rack.
“It looked like he was pretty enterprising. I guess he managed to get the rack off and he just put it on top of the bike and was wheeling both of them down the street.”
The bike and bike stand were later found abandoned outside the Gold Medal Club on Athlete’s Way, about a block away from where Fromson first saw the suspect.
Outside Nook restaurant along West 2 Avenue, nuts and bolts are strewn on the sidewalk where it appears one bike rack from a stand of five is missing.
Vancouver police were unable to say whether they received a report of the apparent theft, but did say they are seeing a decrease in bike thefts compared to last year.
According to department statistics, 312 bikes were reported stolen in May and June of this year. That’s down 42 per cent from the 538 reported stolen during the same time in 2019.
Those in the bike business said this type of theft has been happening in Vancouver for at least two decades.
“I’ve been warning people about that forever,” Paul Dragan, owner of Reckless Bike Stores, said.
Any bike rack that is bolted into the ground is susceptible to being taken, Dragan told Global News.
Thieves have also pulled No Parking and No Stopping signs out of the ground, he added, to take bikes that are locked to them.
HUB Cycling, a non-profit group that promotes cycling in the city, said it is possible that whoever installed the bike rack did not use tamper-proof attachments.
Another occurrence, according to HUB Cycling’s Vancouver Committee chair Jeff Leigh, is for a thief to loosen the lock bolt holding a post on the rack beforehand. After someone locks their bike to the post and leaves, the crook then lifts the post and takes the bike.
The group recommended that cyclists ensure that whatever they’re locking their bike to is secure.
During a walk through southeast False Creek on Sunday, Global News could only find one bike rack with exposed bolts.
Most of the other bike stands in Olympic Village appeared to be implanted firmly into the ground.
The City of Vancouver did not immediately return a request for comment.