Kelly Goldbeck

Kelly Goldbeck

Scooter and electric bike thefts on the rise

It’s not the type of phone call Kelly Goldbeck necessarily wants to receive.

It’s not the type of phone call Kelly Goldbeck necessarily wants to receive.

But on a regular basis, the owner of Kgeez Cycle on Burnside Road receives a phone call from a customer or someone in the scooter community, informing him that their scooter or electric bike has been stolen.

“They are very upset. It’s a lot of money for them and then they find they are violated,” said Goldbeck, who reports the thefts to Victoria police.

“A lot of the customers I have, they saved a lot of money. They worked really hard to get a scooter and sometimes this is all they have. Then they get it swiped from them and it causes a lot of grief.”

The theft of scooters and electric bikes from city streets is a growing trend that Victoria police Sgt. Barry Cockle started to notice during the last two to three years. A rise in popularity of scooters and electric bikes has made them a hot commodity on the Island,  Cockle explained, and has now become one of the biggest problems the police are trying to address.

On average, police receive eight to nine reports a week about stolen scooters and various types of electric bikes.

The scooters and electric bikes, which can range in price from $1,500 to $4,000, are typically swiped from various locations throughout Greater Victoria, such as underground parkades, garages, backyards, or anywhere they aren’t secure.

Often they end up in chop shops, where they’re dismantled for their parts or re-painted to sell on the street for a few hundred dollars.

Cockle believes there’s a specific group of people who are swiping the scooters and electric bikes, noting officers have noticed an increase in thefts when certain offenders are released from jail. Some of the scooters have been found in the shelter areas or camps along the Galloping Goose Trail. Others are found inside apartments of known property offenders.

On one occasion, Cockle found three scooters being painted inside an apartment.

“They stripped them apart, filed off the serial numbers and started painting all the components to a new colour,” said Cockle. “The smell of gasoline and paint within the apartment was absolutely disgusting, but nobody called us. If you are seeing that sort of stuff, then we want to hear from you for sure.”

Cockle and Goldbeck talk at least once a week about scooters that have been stolen and ways to prevent further thefts from occurring.

All of the scooters have a steering lock, explained Goldbeck, but that can be broken when used with enough force. Some thieves will pull up in a truck with three guys and throw the bikes in the box, even if the alarm is going off. Others carry bolt cutters or torches in their backpack to cut through the locks.

In an effort to deter thieves, Goldbeck has been integrating security measures such as alarm systems or locks with his scooters. Part of the problem, he said, is that a lot of customers get complacent when it comes to making sure their scooter is secure.

“They’ll go into a store and think I’ll only be in there for 10 minutes and don’t take the time to put the lock on and come back out and their scooter is gone…if you have a scooter or electric bike, tie them to something,” said Goldbeck, noting his customers range in age from 16 to 95.

“I gave him (the 95-year-old man) his freedom back. He was in a walker and to walk half a block would take half a day. He got on this and I’ve never seen a smile so big in my life.”

After noticing a growing trend in bike thefts during the last few years, Victoria police implemented a registry to help reunite found or seized bikes with their rightful owners. Cyclists fill out a form with their contact information, bike serial number and description, making it easier for officers to establish that it’s stolen when checking a person riding it without permission.

Owners of scooters and electric bikes are encouraged to use the registry as well.

For more information visit vicpd.ca/bike-registry.

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A cyclist navigates the shoulder in traffic along Oak Bay Avenue in Victoria. (John Luton Photo)
Oak Bay council supports Fort Street bike lanes

Victoria bike lanes would connect to Cadboro Bay Road

The Victoria Fire Department extinguished a 15 foot tent fire in the 500-block of Ellice Street Jan. 19. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police investigating after 15-foot flames engulf tent

Flames damage nearby business in 500-block of Ellice Street

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Victoria police arrested a man after at least 14 downtown locations were damaged Jan. 20. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Victoria glass smashing suspect believed to be water taxi thief

Man arrested for damaging at least 14 downtown locations

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) is on route to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device. (Google/Screencap)
Bomb disposal unit en route to Salt Spring Island after discovery of suspicious device in park

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

Most Read