Eddie Goncalves, left, and Greg Nowik, co-founders of Bikes for Kids, examine their storage facility in Nanaimo’s Brechin area today, Oct. 10. They say as many as two dozen bikes were stolen from the facility sometime over the Thanksgiving weekend. The bikes were intended to be donated to the less fortunate. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Thieves raid charity bike campaign in Nanaimo

About 15 to 25 bicycles stolen from Bikes for Kids program

The co-founders of an organization that donates bicycles to people in need say as many as two dozen bikes were stolen from a storage facility in Nanaimo over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Greg Nowik and Eddie Goncalves, co-founders of Bikes for Kids, told the Nanaimo News Bulletin somewhere from 15 to 25 bikes were stolen from their secured unit in the Brechin neighbourhood sometime between Oct. 4-8.

“It is devastating,” Nowik said. “If it was my bike at home, whatever, who gives a damn, but these bikes were destined for adults and kids who need them.”

Bikes for Kids provides donated bikes to adults and children who cannot afford to purchase their own bike. It was started about two and a half years ago and is in partnership with the Nanaimo RCMP and Arrowsmith Bikes, who repair any donated bikes that need to be fixed.

Goncalves said they learned about the incident in the evening hours on Oct. 9. He said there was visible damage to a heavy steel door and that only adult bikes were taken.

“It’s upsetting,” Goncalves said.

The News Bulletin was invited to examine the scene. At least two doors had noticeable damage on them, while a fence appeared to be cut.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP media spokesperson, told the News Bulletin that an investigation is underway. He said the alleged theft was not the act of one person but a group of individuals who were organized and knew what they were doing.

“This was a group effort. There would have been lots of noise,” O’Brien said, adding “We are hoping the public can assist us. I think the public would be outraged to know that somebody did this.”

O’Brien said he cannot publicly disclose the exact location where the incident took place due to concerns that more bikes could be stolen. He said anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.

For more on unsolved crimes, click here.



nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

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