wwotl's picture

150 stolen bikes recovered

Toronto police have recovered almost 150 high-end bicycles that they say were stolen in a large-scale theft operation.

Read CTV story.


vince's picture

Refer my previous comment

Refer my previous comment ... other blog. Went in the "Bike shop" on 11'th Av and 8'th this morning .... some guy decided to ride out on a very nice high-end model ..... fortunately the staff caught up with him. ..... looks like bike theft in Calgary is indeed riff. This guy was just "in your face " .... any thoughts on actually securing a bike in a public place without having to watch it all the time ? Alternatively some form of tracking aid / company .... same as they do on high-end cars Bm'ers and that ?

Kaldrin's picture

How much does it all weigh?

The only problem with an A grade is that you have to haul around 30lbs. worth of chains and locks. On the way to work my pack is full of work clothes and my lunch... and a spare tire tube.

jabberwock's picture

How much does it all weigh?

I just like keeping the bike locked up an A in the crappy looking department. In all cases I'm sure that my bike looks worse than all the others that it's parked near. The bike is well tuned, very light and rides very well but looks so awful (the wonders of what you can do with paint, tape and horribly colored accessories) that I constantly get comments asking why I ride such a junker. Misleading people about the quality of the bike is just as important as the lock.

Then dragging all I do is drag around the lighter lock keeping the weight down.

vince's picture

Appreciate your comments on

Appreciate your comments on "dressing down to the audience" .... From what I've seen on Calgary since November ..... this place is just excellent for biking.
As some background .... prior to coming here I lived in Venezuela for a couple of years (no I'm not a Venezuelan) ... and biking down there is "at your own risk" I used to do it all the time , just got to get in the rhythm of things .... So ... I'm not just thinking Calgary (my bike goes with me everywhere) ... 4 continents so far .... it's a very multinational bike ... made in Australia !!!!!

Ok ... riding to work you can strip most parts off but it's a bit hard to dress down everything the pannier bags back-and-front (which I strip off when parked) and the electric assist ( strip the battery pack off too) and Latin American handle bars that stand out as unique. I'm still thinking maybe there's some company up here in Clagary that offers the same form of tracking devices (as a monthly service fee) for GPS ...... still open to thoughts. Your comment "very light" good. Mines quite the opposite at the moment but fine tuning it at the moment.

Appreciate any other ideas ladies/gentlemen.

ps. I always dress down in Venezuela. Here's an example ... One time I was out riding and there's this guy walking up the middle of the street just swinging his pistol around in broad daylight .... agree with your comments. Just another reason for the electric assist (getting out of difficult situations).

vince's picture

agree .... same here .

agree .... same here . Little bit more expense required to cut the weight down on my part.

vince's picture

This is GOOD. Thankyou

This is GOOD. Thankyou Spinner. I did ask someone in the office on why the hell he was carry his seat down in the Elevator ...... and got the "dumb look". I lock mine up with 3 heavy duty chains and will use another permanet one for the seat. Thanks .... I am inclined to pass this video around and see what the response is.

ride's picture

more like 1500

The Globe & Mail is saying that although the police originally recovered 150 bikes from one home, they soon discovered that the alleged thief owned or operated five other storage locations, and they've now recovered over 1500 bikes! The guy seems to have just collected them, as one victim was able to get back a bike that had gone missing 8 years ago.

CPat's picture

Toronto Bike Theft


More than 3,700 bicycles were reported stolen in this city last year, a 26 per cent increase from 2014, according to new data obtained by CBC Toronto from police.

Of the 3,728 bikes reported stolen in the city, only 49 were recovered.

That's just over one per cent. The recovery rates in 2014 and 2015 were just as low. ...




RichieRich's picture

Bike Thefts...

Cpat - that's bringing a topic back from the pastures!! 

I'm curious what the YYC stats are for the past year, compared to lets say 5, 10, 20 years ago.  I suspect not that different from Toronto... which perhaps leads to the apparant apathy from CPS when reporting or following up on bike thefts.  And so there's a vicious cycle... so crappy reporting and recording tools leads to crappy followup?  or is it the other way around?

CPat's picture

YYC Bike Theft Stats

There's a table on the bike theft page; http://www.bikecalgary.org/bike-theft-stats

The opoid crisis and online marketplaces have had great impact.

Unfortunately the City makes you FOIP this info - you can't separate it out from the police stats yourself because it gets lumped in with theft under $5,000.

The CPS recovery rate is much higher than Toronto's; if they find your bike, then they are good at getting it back to its owner.

That said the key word is if.  Reporting it to police is the best chance to get your bike back. 


CPat's picture

More Toronto Links



Officer Cook says on the contrary, bike thefts are taken very seriously.

“That’s why we have our bike registration program…we encourage cyclists that when they have a new bicycle to register it online and we often times find bicycles this way,” she said.


I'd be curious to know what % of Toronto bikes are in their database.  It's not mandatory and linked like vehicle registration is.  Once stolen, the problem is that many people don't know/can't find their bike serial number when filing a police report.  Sometimes they can't provide proof of ownership.  Each police department maintaining their own database also costs money, and is effectively siloed from other police service's databases. Less of a problem in Calgary, but in many Canadian cities there are multiple police services (e.g. Vancouver).

CPat's picture




"Property is replaceable, your life is not. So if you're ever in this predicament, put in that report, contact police," said Sidhu. "There is a backlog. That's the honest truth, but it is something that's looked into within at least 72 hours."

Police also recommend that cyclists write down and register their bikes' serial numbers, take their own photographs of their bikes and keep the receipts. 

'There is a backlog that's the honest truth, but it is something that's looked into within at least 72 hours.'- Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu, Toronto Police

Lifshitz hopes that one day police can create some sort of task force to help people get their bikes back — but in the meantime, he says there's a thriving community actively looking for bikes and helping each other online.

The paramedic shared information about his stolen bike, and how he got it back, on a number of Toronto community and cycling Facebook groups.

"People have been approaching me saying, 'Hey, have you seen my bike?' They think I'm maybe some sort of bike theft vigilante," Lifshitz told CBC Toronto.

"Nope, I just had a very resourceful girlfriend and a bunch of friends that just really came through."


Anecdotely the CPS generally doesn't contact those who report bike thefts unless they find the bike, or it's part of a break and enter (i.e. something they consider more serious).  BikeCalgary tries to help get people their bikes back with its rss feed and bike theft report system.  When you see a posting on twitter or here on the website, remember it, and let the owner and police know if you see it.

Also if you see bikes obviously abandoned (e.g. they've been locked there for "too long" and/or locked in a non-sensical place and/or starting to lose parts), report it so it can go into the system and maybe be returned to its owner.


CPat's picture

Great YYZ Bike Theft Map



  1. Get a good lock. "We recommend U-locks here. You don't have to spend a million bucks, but 60 or 70 bucks will get you a good lock."
  2. Lock your bike in a busy area. "Don't lock your bike in a backyard or somewhere where there's not a lot of people. Do it in a high-populated area with lots of foot traffic."
  3. Secure your bike. "You should be locking to something solid, City of Toronto bike rings, or anything that's not going to move. And you want to lock your frame and wheel together. We recommend the back wheel because it's more expensive but you can do the front as well."

But for some like Paterson, who've been burned by a bike thief in a seemingly secure location, they're less likely to consider those options safe enough.

"I don't lock up in vulnerable places, barely ever outside," said Paterson. "I have a few bikes and most of them will only ever stay inside at home or I take it up to a friend's place."

Some people use a commuter bike that's less tempting for thieves.

I really like the map linked to in this article; http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/toronto-bike-theft-toronto-2014-201...

Closest thing in Calgary ishttps://bikemaps.org/

You can't filter by bike type, year, etc. though to see trends.  It'd be great if BikeCalgary created the default that stolen bikes reported here got uploaded onto a visualized database like that automatically.


CPat's picture

YYZ Bike Theft Stories



Henderson says police also told him his video, photos and the contact information of the suspect helped investigators arrest and charge the bike thief for break and enter in Henderson's case and in other cases as well.

Henderson says police told him that his case "would never have been solved" without him. ...


... Dimnik says they haven't replaced the bikes and she's not sure if she ever will.

"It sort of put me off buying an expensive bike again," said Dimnik, adding that she definitely won't be buying on Kijiji anymore.

"I don't want to buy someone's stolen bike."

Not replacing the bike.  I can't remember the number, but this is surprisingly a large percentage of people and the bike is usually much cheaper.  Something like 40%.  From surveys, bike theft is the second largest barrier to not feeling safe on roads.  The city should do more.  Bike shops should care about this.  What can they both do...


CPat's picture

Project 529 in British Columbia

What they do in BC is use Project 529, an app developed in Portland.

The city pays a subscription for Project 529 to be integrated with CPIC (Canadian Police Information Centre), the database for stolen property and other police info.

The police service markets the system and partners with bike shops to get it included in the purchase price of a bicycle (optional, not required).  When you buy a bike, a decal is put onto the bike, download the app, take photos with your smart phone of the bike, distinguishing marks/parts/identifiers, photo of the receipt, upload them onto the app.  You're done.  Takes all of 2-5 minutes.  You don't absolutely need the decal, it helps, but if you don't want to pay for it, you can still upload the info onto the app.

If your bike is stolen, you alert the police with the app (it sends out an SOS to all close by app users), the police have all your info and the fact it's stolen so they can look for it in real time, i.e. pretty much from the minute you report it stolen.  The info's uploaded to CPIC, from what I understand, so different police services have the same info, no jurisdictional chinese wall B.S. 

Someone is buying a bike off kijiji, they can go online to CPIC and check the serial number to see whether the seller is a tosser.  Note: when you are buying a bike, run the serial number.  Don't add to the problem:  http://www.cpic-cipc.ca/index-eng.htm


CPat's picture

Read this article ********************


Vancouver Police have seen a 30% drop in bike thefts since adopting Project 529 Garage in 2015


Vancouver adopted a Portland-based app called Project 529 Garage in October 2015. 

Since then about 22,000 cyclists have registered their bikes with it in the city, according Const. Robert Brunt, from Vancouver Police. He's been the liaison on the project since day one.

"It's way beyond what I imagined," Brunt told CBC Toronto. "We hit 10,000 in roughly six months ... and it's expanded from just Vancouver to over 30 other cities in the province." ...


... all of the information currently provided by the Toronto Police registration system or Facebook groups being in one place in the app — to help everyone from cyclists on the street to police. ...


... "It's a system that allows everyone to help," said Brunt. "We have the bike stores involved, we have the community involved, we have cyclists involved, we have the city involved, we have the police department involved.

"When you get all of those tools working together as one, you get the huge results we've got." ...


... One of the other takeaways Brunt's found from the app is the ability to track bikes out of town.

"We had a bike registered in Vancouver, an electric bike, and it was recovered off Craigslist in San Francisco. So the bikes are moving huge distances." ...


It's all laid out in this article.  It's a slick effective system.


-It's a data collection company.  Just like google, microsoft, dating apps, everything these days, they are collecting your data.  It is annomized, but some people have issues with it (just because that horse has left the barn, doesn't mean people shouldn't be vigilant).  Nothing that's free, is actually free.

-it costs the police some money, about the cost of having someone run their own database (from what I understand).


Second blurb on YYZ; http://www.iphoneincanada.ca/news/new-app-helps-decrease-bike-theft-in-v...



CPat's picture


MEC sells the decals.  They are on Amazon.  I've personally talked with one of the Bow Cycle owners about the app.  They think because the police isn't using it, writing the serial number of customer's receipts is enough.  Even without any sanction, because (likely) of diffusion from BC there were at least 500 app users in Calgary IIRC over one year ago.  I'd still use it.  If your bike gets stolen here in Calgary, thrown into a container and someone tries to sell it in over 30 places in BC, people can check and report to the police they've found your stolen bike.  BC's right next door.  I ride there several times a year.

The Calgary police just got $20 millions for a budget increase against the grain of cut backs everywhere (got to love right wing values...).  They are spending $2 million per year to subscribe to a body camera service (another private company running a database, video files are large).  This would be three orders of magnitude lower than that.  Interesting how Calgary can be kind of progressive in something like that, but not in so many other areas.  Of course Calgarians also re-elected the dumpster fire in Ward 4.

But, but, but this isn't a big problem; why should they spend any money on it?  Well look at that bikecalgary.org stats page again.  Let's very conservatively put an average bike value at $500 (think of the bike's you can buy new for $500).  2000*500 = $1 million per year.  If we got the same 30% drop in theft, that's a savings of $300,000 per year.  This thing would pay for itself.

Contact your councillor. http://www.calgary.ca/CityCouncil/Pages/Councillors-and-Wards.aspx

Bike thefts from apartments and condo building bike locker rooms are on the rise.  Half of all Calgary bike thefts in 2016 came from "secure" places like people's garages or bike locker rooms.  Important even if yuo don't lock up on sidewalks downtown.


critninja's picture

"It Won't Happen To Me" Syndrome

As someone who has had literally thousands of conversations with people about bike security in my store, I can say that there is still a very large percentage of people who suffer from this syndrome. No amount of data and experience will help them. It is sad.

I fall into the camp of people who are not holding their breath that the police or whoever is going to ever make bike theft a serious issue.

The only thing you can do is to employ good locks (more then one), thoughtful strategies when locking up, then hope you're not victimized.

Phil Saunders's picture

Just ask!

Recently I had to pick up a package at a post office in a very shady area of town. I called ahead and asked if I could bring my bike in with me. They said sure. My bike dripped a little so I cleaned the floor with my pack rag and they were pleased as punch. 

At work there have been a lot of bike thefts so I asked the operator of the building I work in if I could lock up my bike on the roof or in a mechanical room. He said sure. Everyday security lets me in and out of a very secure mechanical area. Sure sometimes my wheels leave a wet trail but I just get a mop and keep the floor clean. 

I think that this could be a thing that our advocates could push for, a more lax policy on where a bike can be taken. I would sure like to take my bike into the Safeway and shop into my panniers. Maybe if enough of us an ask they could do a test project. I think I'll do just that. 

Phil Saunders