Winnipeg man says cops laughed off his report of bike theft

A bike is seen attached to a new-style ring-and-post bike locking device. Global News

A Winnipeg man has gone public with his bike theft experience, and his dissatisfaction with the city’s police service, after he says a trio of cops laughed off his concerns when he reported a theft in progress.

Paul Gackle told 680 CJOB’s The Start he noticed his bike was being targeted in Osborne Village Friday morning, and when he approached nearby police officers for help, he got the brush-off.

“I explained my situation to them — I said, ‘it looks like my bike is in the process of being stolen — somebody’s already picked the lock, they’ve chained it with their own lock to another bike. What can you guys do to help me?’

“…and they basically shrugged their shoulders and said, ‘sorry, bud, you’re on your own.'”

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Gackle said police laughed at him and told him to call a locksmith or get a pair of bolt cutters.

“The community is at its best when they trust law enforcement and law enforcement is looking out for the members of its community,” he said.

“Really, if I could have just had someone stand there for 10 or 15 minutes while I figured out how to get this bike off, that might have gone a long way.”

Click to play video: 'Bike theft concerns in Winnipeg'
Bike theft concerns in Winnipeg

Winnipeg police Const. Jay Murray said the incident is being looked into, and that every cruiser has GPS, which could help determine who Gackle interacted with.

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Murray said he encourages Winnipeggers to file a complaint if they feel they’ve been mistreated by police.

“We have a professional standards unit, there’s LERA (The Law Enforcement Review Agency), and if a complaint is made –which we certainly suggest if you feel you’ve been aggrieved by the actions of an officer — making that complaint allows us to investigate this.”

Murray added, however, that the police service is currently responding to about 650 calls for service per day — about 27 an hour — and violent crime takes priority.

“It’s a lot of work and the reality of it is violent crime takes a priority for us — most of our response is directed toward those emergency calls.”

Police union head Moe Sabourin told 680 CJOB that property crime has necessarily been put on the backburner by police due to an increase in violent offenses — and if you’re not in danger, your call for help will be seen as less of a priority.

“We’ve been advocating with the chief for years to put more resources into general patrol,” Sabourin said.

“This isn’t just an uptick or a blip… it is a concern that calls for service are continuing to rise.”

Sabourin said he would encourage Winnipeggers to file a formal complaint rather than taking concerns to social media, as some of the details may get lost in translation.

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“There’s a lot of factors you’d have to take into account. What were those officers doing at the time? Are we missing some of the details, and are some of those details being exaggerated?”

Click to play video: 'Bike thefts in Winnipeg'
Bike thefts in Winnipeg

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