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Port Coquitlam man caught stealing bait bike could face theft charges

He was seen in North Vancouver riding a bike placed strategically by RCMP as part of a program to curb theft.
Stolen bikes recovered by B.C. police. | Dan Toulgoet, Glacier Media

A Port Coquitlam man was arrested and released this month for stealing a bike planted by Mounties meant to combat property theft.

And he is one of three that could face charges from separate incidents in North Vancouver.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Melissa Jongema explains officers quickly arrested the PoCo resident after he was seen riding one of the detachment's bait bikes on July 6.

The other two were caught in similar scenarios; both were each riding a freshly stolen bike in June and July respectively.

Now, all three were released, but are set to appear in court at a later date and police say charges "will soon be forwarded."

North Vancouver RCMP kickstarted the bait bike program in 2014, and has since expanded to several B.C. detachments, says special response team member Cpl. Lauren Kildaw.

"We have a large fleet of bait bikes of every kind ranging from road racing to full suspension downhill bikes," she explains in a news release today (July 26).

And just like police in the Tri-Cities, they too encourage bike owners to register with Garage 529 — a free initiative that helps local enforcement find stolen bicycles and return them to their rightful owners.

According to the non-profit organization, it's recovered 60 bikes in the Tri-Cities since as mid-April, adding this saves "thousands of dollars in police resources and loss of product."

Each bike's serial number is put into the 529 system, along with other descriptive details such as colour, make and model to help others searching for a stolen two-, three- or four-wheeler.

"Over the last two decades, bike theft in North America has grown to epidemic proportions — affecting about two million riders each year," reads a profile on Garage 529's website.

"Beyond the half-billion dollar cycling black market, many stolen bikes are involved in secondary crimes — serving as a modern 'getaway vehicle' for criminals.

"Our strategy is simple — galvanize riders, shops, police, schools and cities with a common set of tools that allow communities to become better organized than the criminals."

Port Moody police (PMPD) are set to host a community at the farmers market tomorrow (July 27) from 3 to 7 p.m. to register bikes with Garage 529. The department recovered 20 stolen bikes in 2021, according to the latest stats available.

If you can't make it to the market, you can also visit PMPD headquarters (3051 St John's St.).

As well, Garage 529 lists the following companies and groups that can register bikes with its program:

Residents are encouraged to call their local detachment to report a stolen bike, including Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550 or PMPD at 604-461-3456.