Vancouver police are investigating after a brazen bike thief was caught on camera raiding the bike locker of a West End apartment building by removing glass panes from the building’s door.
Building manager Ovidiu Mihuti said the perpetrator was well prepared, using suction cups to take out the panels and bolt cutters to remove six carefully-selected, expensive bikes.
“It was on the night between Sunday and Monday,” said Mihuti, speaking at the property by Nelson and Bidwell streets.
“They came without masks, they came without gloves or anything. Just tools and that’s all. I have no idea what’s the mentality of it.”
It was a multi-day operation, he told Global News, involving a group of co-conspirators.
Security footage shows several men scouting the scene twice last week. One returned early Monday morning to carry out the crime over a three-hour time frame.
“It’s a cost for us. It’s an extra cost we didn’t plan for this year,” said Mihuti, frustrated.
Their primary concern is for resident safety, he added, but none of the tenants are considering leaving — they love the neighbourhood and the building too much.
Crime in the West End, including theft, assault and sexual assault, has increased according to the Vancouver Police Department.
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Last week, the VPD revealed that over the past year, there’s been an the average of four random attacks on strangers in the city each day.
“We’re hearing loud and clear. We’re hearing from store owners, we’re hearing from residents,” said Const. Tania Visintin.
“There’s a lot of brazenness going on, a lot of violent crime, a lot of street disorder … It’s a lot these days.”
She said these crimes “of opportunity” primarily take place overnight when stores are closed and fewer police are on the road. In response, the department has increased its patrols on foot and on bikes, and engaged its Citizens’ Crime Watch volunteers.
One West End shop owner, however, doesn’t think the VPD or City of Vancouver are doing enough.
John Clerides, owner of the Marquis Wine Shop, said his store has been broken into twice this year alone.
“The last one was the most egregious where they took a blow torch to our window and stole our electric delivery bike,” he told Global News.
“It’s getting worse and worse — not only break-ins but safety of individuals … This neighbourhood has a mosaic of people and some of them can’t defend themselves.”
Visintin said the VPD is doing its “best to be part of the solution.”
“Downtown has changed but we are doing the best we can with the resources we have,” she said.
The health, social and economic reasons for increased crime are “complex,” she added.