A Vernon teenager whose mountain bike was stolen on Tuesday received a very welcome phone call from police, who let him know that the bike he’d purchased with hard earned money had been found.
The bike had been stolen in broad daylight outside the Vernon Recreation Centre on Tuesday, Aug. 20. Police responded to the report at about 6:30 p.m. and were told by a witness that a man had approached the bike racks at the main entrance of the centre, cut the lock and fled on the bike.
The witness said the brazen theft took place in a matter of minutes in a crowded area and well within sight of people coming and going from the facility. The witness provided a detailed description of the man, and the owner of the bike was found in the recreation centre.
Police went on numerous patrols Tuesday evening in search of the suspect and stolen bike without success.
On Wednesday morning officers from the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP’s Crime Reduction Unit learned the details of the theft and the suspect’s description.
According to Cpl. Tania Finn, Media Relations Officer with the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP, the suspect was no new face to the Crime Reduction Unit and tracking him down wasn’t all that difficult.
“Our Crime Reduction Unit immediately recognized the distinct description given for the suspect as an individual they had interaction with this summer,” said Finn.
“Within a few minutes of hitting the streets, the Crime Reduction Unit located the suspect in an area he was known to frequent and recovered the stolen mountain bike.”
The young bike owner had saved his money for months and bought the bike just this summer.
A 31 year old man from Alberta was arrested and is currently in custody facing charges of theft under $5,000 and possession of stolen property.
Theft under $5,000 is a charge seen more often as bike thefts are on the rise in the city, according to the Vernon RCMP’s second-quarter police report which was discussed at city council on Monday.