Saskatoon police say thieves looking for bicycles are behind a growing number of break-ins to garages and sheds.
According to police, this uptick happens every summer. Thieves often use the bikes for a short time, before finding a way to make money off them to support other criminal activities.
“They’re using them to get from point A to point B. They’re using them to commit other offences, they’re using them to cover large areas in all parts of the city,” said Insp. Patrick Nogier with the Saskatoon police east division.
Nogier added the bikes are often cut up for parts, that are then sold online or on the street.
“If (people) come across some big name, high-price parts for a cheap price, chances are it’s being taken off a high-priced (bicycle) that’s been taken somewhere illegally in the city.”
While the more popular target may be bicycles, Nogier said thieves are looking for “quick grabs” during these break-ins – rummaging through sheds for tools or unlocked cars for wallets, cell phones and iPads.
“A lot of these things are quite expensive and you can hide them and conceal them in a backpack.”
Police announced officers would be paying special attention to things like cyclists travelling late at night in back alleys and people biking on sidewalks as part of an effort to curb the problem.
“Part of it is that whole enforcement of things that seem out of the norm,” Nogier said.
“Maybe that individual is in a non-residential zone, riding around with a backpack on and it doesn’t seem right.”
The inspector noted officers aren’t out to cause issues for cycling commuters, although public safety is a part of the enforcement initiative.
As for what people can do to help police, Nogier suggested speaking to a bicycle shop about the best locks and also to consider locking up a bike inside a secure building such as a residence.
“It may seem onerous … (but) make it as absolutely difficult as possible for people to walk away with your possessions,” he said.
Anyone with information on bicycle-related crimes is asked to contact Saskatoon police at 306-975-8300 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.