You’ve heard of “bait cars,” right? The subject of those hilarious dash-cam videos on the Lower Mainland of British Columbia that depict — in full, likely embarrassing fashion for the culprits — exactly what happens when you ‘jack a vehicle?
If you haven’t heard of them yet, cyclists, there’s a version especially for us, and they’re called “bait bikes.”
It’s a testament to how seriously — refreshingly seriously — police in Vancouver take bike theft that such a thing exists, but it does. Late last week, a 37-year-old Vancouver man was nabbed in a sting facilitated by these well-placed, attractive decoys, something that was part of an ongoing operation by the local authorities to catch bicycle thieves in the act. At around 8 pm on Thursday, October 15, two of these bikes were locked up on Pender Street and Dunsmuir Street in the downtown core, awaiting the unwelcome attention of the city’s less-principled bike aficionados.
The bikes weren’t waiting that long. Within an hour, Vancouver police said, they had their man.
The suspect, reportedly, started showing interest in the bait bike locked up on Dunsmuir St. almost immediately, according to the Metro News. From what reports indicate, he checked out the ride, then returned to it a few minutes later and exercised his unfortunate craft. After only about 10 seconds, the suspect succeeded — if fleetingly. The bike in his possession, he saddled up and rode off.
He hadn’t made it far before Vancouver police officers caught up, though, arresting him for theft and mischief.
Vancouver, of course, is no stranger to bike theft — part of the reason why local authorities take it so seriously in the beautiful west coast city. A little more than 2,000 bikes are stolen in Vancouver each year, police say, and another 1,000 can’t be returned to their rightful owners because their serial numbers haven’t been registered. As a result, the use of “bait bikes” serves a dual purpose: to catch thieves in the act, but also to drive home the point that properly logging rides with the authorities is something more cyclists should be doing.
“We want to diminish the risk of having someone’s bike stolen,” said Vancouver constable Brian Montague, the department’s spokesperson, in a press release,” and remind potential thieves that the next bike they are thinking of stealing may belong to the police.”