Sto­len bikes com­mon in region

Po­lice do­nate un­clai­med wheels to cha­ri­table pro­gram

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

Town­web ser­vice

Ka­ry Anne Sykes's chil­dren lear­ned a hard les­son th­ree weeks ago when their be­lo­ved bi­cycles were sto­len sometime du­ring the night af­ter they'd been left to lean against the fa­mi­ly's Saint-La­zare ga­rage door.

"Their bikes are their life... they ride them eve­ryw­here," Sykes said of her two chil­dren, 8-year-old Ju­lien, and 6-year-old Lau­ra.

She said the kids dis­co­ve­red the theft ear­ly Sa­tur­day, Oc­to­ber 2 af­ter they'd run out­side ready to jump on the much-used cycles, a royal blue boy's CCM bike with 16 inch wheels, and a girl's bike that was li­lac with a red­maple leaf de­si­gn and 16inchw­heels.

Though nor­mal­ly lo­cked up each night, the fa­mi­ly had run out of room in their ga­rage af­ter put­ting thing­sa­way­for the win­ter.

Du­ring an en­suing search, they lear­ned they were not the on­ly vic­tims of bike theft.

"We che­cked eve­ryw­here, in the parks, woods, in ditches and at the lo­cal th­rift store," where they were told by La Source d'en­traide vo­lun­teers that people come in "all the time" ho­ping to find bi­cycles that had been sto­len.

Iro­ni­cal­ly, the fa­mi­ly did find th­ree dif­ferent bi­cycles du­ring their search but not the ones sto­len from­thei­rhome.

"All had been tra­shed and­were of no use to anyone," Sykes no­ted.

One thing the de­ter­mi­ned pa­rent did was post the missing bi­cycles on Saint-La­zare's lost and­found email no­tices.

The free ser­vice means no­tices are sent to 2,500 subs­cri­bers, or rough­ly one-third of the town's po­pu­la­tion.

Saint-La­zare com­mu­ni­ca­tions agent Ge­ne­viève Ha­mel does not think more bi­cycles are sto­len in Saint La­zare com­pa­red to other towns.

"I live in Rigaud and of­ten see bikes left in ditches and on the side of the road," she no­ted.

But Ha­mel ad­ded Saint-La­zare re­si­dents do have a "use­ful tool" with the town's lost and found­web­page.

"The ser­vice gives people vi­si­bi­li­ty," Ha­mel said. "You have 2,500 ex­tra set of eyes loo­king out for your (lost) pro­per­ty."

In ad­di­tion, all no­tices are for­war­ded to town pu­blic works em­ployees who al­so watch for them.

Ha­mel said they crea­ted the sec­tion fol­lo­wing the suc­cess of a si­mi­lar one de­di­ca­ted to lost or­mis­sing ani­mals.

She over­sees fol­low-ups for the missing ani­mals' page, as people want to know if a pet has foun­dits­way­home.

"More and more we get po­si­tive feed­back," thanks to so ma­ny people loo­king for pets or lost goods.

In her case, Sykes saidw­hile she got a lot of calls about the­mis­sing bi­cycles - ma­ny from people saying the same thing had hap­pe­ned to­them-the bikes have yet to be found.

In the end, the fa­mi­ly re­pla­ced them with twou­sed bi­cycles.

"The kids ride them un­til the snow falls so they couldn't go ano­ther wee­kend wi­thout them."

Po­lice do­nate un­clai­med bikes

Sûreté du Que­bec Sgt. Bru­no Beau­lieu said while sto­len bikes are al­ways apro­blem in­any town, people tend to not re­port such thefts to po­lice. He­could not sayw­hy­that is. All bi­cycles found by of­fi­cers are kept for an un­de­ter­mi­ned amount of time. If they are not clai­med po­li­ce­will do­nate them.

Last year, the SQ gave about 10 un­clai­med bi­cycles to Zèbre Rouge, the job-crea­ting branch of Vau­dreuil-Sou­langes Arc-en-Ciel, a non-pro­fit or­ga­ni­za­tion that helps people with men­tal health pro­blems.

"Last year, we do­na­ted the bi­cycles and wor­kers (with men­tal health pro­blems) were able to fix the­mup," Beau­lieu ex­plai­ned.

The re­fur­bi­shed bikes were sold to sup­port Arc-en-Ciel, or used in a new­ly crea­ted ren­tal pro­gram run by theCa­fé de la Gare, lo­ca­ted at 60, ruede l'Église inVau­dreuil-Do­rion.

Zèbre Rouge rents the bikes se­ven days a week, bet­ween8a.m. and 4p.m.

Bi­cycles like this one that had been sto­len from a Saint-La­zare teen, are of­ten ex­ten­si­ve­ly da­ma­ged if they are found.

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