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Reports of bold bike thieves in Toronto and Vancouver as used bike prices increase

From stealing a bike still attached to the rack to sneaking into a private bike garage with power tools

Photo by: Reddit

Bike shops across the country sold out bikes this year, as Canadians turned to cycling as a safe, socially distant mode of transit and exercise. This bike boom has come with the unfortunate side-effect of bike scarcity, which has caused an overall increase in used bike prices as sellers take advantage of the booming market.

Bikes, as a commodity, have always been a tempting item for thieves. Bike theft is a major issue in many Canadian cities—last year 21,584 bikes were reported stolen in Toronto and only 1 per cent were recovered.

As the value of bikes increases, evidently so does the temptation to make some easy cash selling them. This week alone, multiple Canadians have documented bike thieves boldly attempting to nab the highly sought-after items.

Walking away with the bike rack

In Vancouver, a bike thief was photographed this week walking near Columbia St. and Walter Hardwick Ave. at about 8:30 a.m. holding a bike still secured to a metal bike rack. The thief, photographed from afar, appears to have ripped or unscrewed the bike rack out of the ground, and walked away, presumably looking for a method to remove the lock.

photo: reddit.com/r/Vancouver

Fortunately, for the owner, Reddit user anathoo said they also saw this thief walking with the bike. “I followed him around while calling the police,” they said,  “He got spooked and dumped the bike outside the Gold Medal Club. Police have it now. Hopefully back to the owner soon!”

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Toronto attempted bike theft caught on camera

Two would-be bike thieves were caught attempting to steal bikes from a bike garage under a Toronto condo this week. The video, posted by BlogTO, shows two men attempting to steal a mtb and a commuter from a wall mount in a private garage at the Market Wharf building on Market Street.

A third person joined them in the second video, but, luckily, the group were unable to get their power tools started before security came and scared them off.

Should cyclists be worried?

There is always some level of risk in leaving a bike locked up outside. If you live in a city, it’s best to bring your commuter inside your house, condo or apartment overnight if possible. As demonstrated in the above footage, private bike garages are often targeted by bike thieves.

If you plan on locking your bike for any amount of time be sure to use a cable to lock any features that are quick release (e.g. wheels or seat post). It’s also advisable to bring any easily removable items on your bike inside with you after you lock up, such as lights, a seat post clamped fender etc.