Bike reg­is­tered in Prince Ge­orge, stolen in Pen­tic­ton, found in Vancouver

The Prince George Citizen - - Local - Mark NIELSEN Cit­i­zen staff [email protected]­i­t­i­zen.ca

Count Remko Schrik among the believ­ers in 529 Garage.

In June 2017, he had just fin­ished a ride at Ot­way when he came across a vol­un­teer reg­is­ter­ing bikes with the pro­gram, de­signed to re­cover stolen bikes and pre­vent the thefts in the first place.

The make, model and se­rial num­ber of Schrik’s Knolly War­den were taken, as was a photo of him with the bike, and en­tered into a sys­tem.

529 Garage is cen­tred on an app that al­lows bike own­ers to send out an alert should their ride ever get stolen and help po­lice track down ones that have gone miss­ing.

To say his bike is high-end would be an un­der­state­ment. It cost him $10,000 to gather the com­po­nents to put the setup to­gether. Even if it’s bought straight off the shelf, it’s an $8,000 bill.

“They’re de­signed and made in B.C.,” he said.

“You’re pay­ing for the lo­cal labour and ma­te­rial.”

Fast for­ward to a bit more than a year later and Schrik was vis­it­ing his wife’s par­ents in Pen­tic­ton when they be­came the vic­tims of a heist on par with some­thing an in­ter­na­tional jewel thief would pull off.

Both his and his wife’s bikes were at­tached to the bike rack on the back of their truck with a “big chain and a big lock.” When Schrik went out at mid­night, they were still there, but when his wife went to let the dog out at 4 a.m., they were gone – as was the bike rack.

“They had taken the whole bike rack apart... and just taken the whole she­bang in one shot,” he said.

The sight left Schrik heart­bro­ken but also im­pressed with the lengths taken to make the theft.

“They’re so­phis­ti­cated,” he said. “They know what they’re do­ing.” But in late Oc­to­ber, an of­fi­cer in the Vancouver Po­lice De­part­ment called Schrik to say his bike had been found in the Down­town East­side. Schrik said he was “sur­prised more than any­thing” to see it turn up at all, let alone where it was re­cov­ered.

“I fig­ured they’d prob­a­bly go away fur­ther than that, like into the States, just so peo­ple wouldn’t rec­og­nize our bike in that com­mu­nity,” he said.

Whether that would have worked is de­bat­able. Bikes stolen in Vancouver have been re­cov­ered as far away as Port­land, Ore. and San Fran­cisco, Calif., ac­cord­ing to 529 Garage pro­po­nents.

A friend in Vancouver picked the bike up from po­lice on Schrik’s be­half and it re­mains tucked away in a garage wait­ing for Schrik, who now lives in Kelowna, to make the trip to pick it up.

Be­cause he had in­sur­ance, Schrik was able to buy a re­place­ment.

“I’m not ex­actly sure what the end re­sult will be with this bike,” he said. “I imag­ine I won’t get to keep it. I’ll have to give it back to the in­sur­ance com­pany.”

But Schrik re­mains an 529 Garage advocate.

“The pro­gram is great,” he said.

“If you’re in the right place at the right time, some­one can set it up for you and it al­lows you to get your bike back.”

Any­one buy­ing a sec­ond­hand bike can run the se­rial num­ber by the pro­gram to make sure it has not been stolen, he noted. Just make sure you do so be­fore you make the pur­chase.

“The one of­fi­cer, when I was talk­ing to him, said he has had peo­ple come to reg­is­ter their bike and it turns out it’s stolen and he has to take it,” Schrik said.

HAND­OUT PHOTO

Remko Schrik poses with his Knolly War­den moun­tain bike, which was stolen but then re­cov­ered thanks to 529 Garage.

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