Jim Goguen, the owner of Jim’s Bike Shop in Moncton, has been selling and repairing bicycles for more than 40 years and believes that bicycle thefts in Greater Moncton are on the rise.
“There is a big theft problem in this city right now and it is not necessarily because people can’t get bikes,” he said.
Goguen says he has been struggling since last year to access product due to COVID-19 related production delays.
“Right now we have over 200 people waiting for bikes,” he explained.
Goguen says he suspects some people are stealing the bikes to sell for scrap metal
Moncton scrap metal recycler Daniel Rinzler owns D.R. Scrap Metals in Moncton. He said while they do take in bikes for scraps, they have not seen a spike in the number of people coming in to sell frames and most of the bikes that do come in are old and undrivable.
“The amount of money that people would get for a bike is so minuscule that I really don’t think it is worth it,” Rinzler said, noting the average bike frame would be valued at about $2 at the scrap yard.
According to Codiac RCMP, the number of bicycle thefts in Greater Moncton has risen 10 per cent over last year at this time. Police said many bicycle thefts go unreported, and even if a stolen bike is recovered, the owner of the bike may never be found if serial numbers are not kept on record.
At the end of May, Codiac Regional RCMP reported becoming the first police service in Atlantic Canada to partner with 529 Garage, a bicycle theft prevention mobile app.
“Many people who report their bikes lost or stolen don’t have the bicycle serial number documented,” said Const. Christy Elliott, a member with the Codiac Regional RCMP Community Policing Unit.
“The 529 Garage app is a simple way to register your bike with the serial number and upload pictures. When someone buys a used bike, they can also confirm it’s legitimately owned by the person selling it.”
Bicycle owners are encouraged to register their serial numbers in the app and if their bike is stolen, an alert is sent out for police and the public to be on the lookout.
“If a 529 Garage registered bicycle is stolen, its owner can trigger an alert using the mobile app. A notification is sent to all 529 Garage users in the area,” said Elliott.
“If someone sees the bicycle, they can make a report in the app to identify its location. Once declared stolen on 529 Garage app, a bicycle will also become more difficult for thieves to resell, as buyers and the police are able to find out the status of the bike by checking the app.”
Goguen says he already registers his customers’ serial numbers at his shop but believes that all bike owners should use the app.
The Nova Scotia RCMP says the app is not currently in use there.
But it’s something Shannon Knighton of Moncton wishes she had used before her son’s bike was recently stolen.
“It is a huge problem. You cannot leave any bike unattended or even if they are locked up, they are just cutting the locks and stealing them,” she said.
She says that her son’s bike was recovered but she’s now planning on using that app in case it happens again.