Calgary officer goes above and beyond to unite stolen bike with owner
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It’s a unique case involving a unique bike.
A fatbike, to be precise.
Recovered Sunday from a home in Killarney known to police, Const. Rich Wall, who is a fatbiker himself, said the stolen Salsa Mukluk – with extra-wide wheels designed for winter riding – was in rough shape.
“The wheels were pulled off of it,” he said.
Wall put it back together and then started the detailed process of trying to unite the bike with its owner.
Much like a missing person’s case, he dove into the research head-first: He checked the parts for serial numbers, called manufacturers, put up posters in local bike shops, scoured Kijiji and posted all over the net, trying to reconnect the rightful owner with his wheels.
“Lots of phone calls, putting posters together...and we came to nothing,” he said.
Wall said this happens often in stolen bike cases. Bike owners don’t keep track of the serial numbers to identify their wheels and will write off bike theft before reporting it to police.
Wall said police had a suspect in mind but couldn’t make an arrest until the mysterious bike was claimed, and the case was getting cold.
That was, until the owner of the fatbike walked into the Calgary Police Service's property recovery facility to collect his wheels. He got a call from police working there who said his bike was found and he needed to come pick it up.
But, because of a software glitch, the bike didn't immediately show up as recovered in their system. So Wall, who was still frantically scouring the web, didn’t know it had already been reunited with its rightful owner.
Andy Warren, the owner, reported the bike stolen the day it was missing.
“I'm quite pleased,” he said Wednesday, after learning about the lengths Wall had gone to. “I’ve had (bikes) stolen before...but I’ve never seen what (police) do because I’ve never seen one recovered.”
Once the victim was identified, officers were able to go ahead and connect a suspect to the theft. The man is known to police and will face charges.