Stolen bikes common in region
Police donate unclaimed wheels to charitable program
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.