LOCAL NEWS

TOURISM WINNIPEG – Takes Another Hit

POLICE HANDOUT
POLICE HANDOUT

Tourism Winnipeg took it on the chin yet again with the recent news of the theft of a touring bicycle from a Victoria BC University student crossing Canada on a charitable bike ride.

Anas Cheema, a fourth year Economics student left the west coast on June 14th heading for St John’s, Newfoundland in his efforts to raise charitable donations for SOS Children’s Villages charity, an international charity that offers aid to orphaned and abandoned children.

His philanthropic ride ended abruptly in Winnipeg on July 10, 2013 at approximately 10:30 pm after his bike was “pinched” by someone in the area of the 800 block of Leila Avenue.  It seems Cheema left his bicycle unattended and it vaporized shortly thereafter.

The bike is described as a Touring bike, dark blue frame with silver accents. “Napoli” written on the frame with two rear saddle bags (black & grey) and one mounted on the front.

Anyone with information regarding the location of the bike is asked to contact investigators at 204-986-2848.

INSIDER COMMENTARY:

Bicycle theft is a major problem in Winnipeg, a problem that affects a great many citizens but rarely receives much in the way of headlines, media attention or meaningful Police investigation.

During my assignment as the WPS Bicycle Patrol Unit Co-ordinator, I initiated several highly successful anti theft “bait” projects targeting criminals who steal bicycles.  These projects had a simply strategy, set up surveillance in a high crime area, leave a bike unattended and arrest anyone who couldn’t resist the temptation.

One of our main target areas was Portage Place, an area frequented by drug dealers, drug users, gangsters, thugs and criminals of all stripes.

After dropping the first bike near the rear entrance of the mall, it was only a matter of minutes before the first petty criminal took the bait.  The pattern was repeated by a seemingly endless line of criminal opportunists.  Spot the bike, case the area looking for heat, jump on the bike and pedal away.  The only problem for them was we had the area completely locked down with virtually no chance of escape.  Teams of physically fit enthusiastic Police Officers surrounded the area and moved in on my command.  “Take him down, take him down now,” I barked over the radio.  “Copy that,” was the immediate reply.

From my covert location I was able to watch it all go down.  Cops on bikes, cars and on foot all converging on the suspect (s) who barely had a chance to get their feet on the pedals.  Down they went, one after another, crashing to the pavement, arms pulled behind their backs and shiny new handcuffs slapped on their wrists.

As I recall, almost every arrestee had a lengthy criminal record, an outstanding arrest warrant or was facing outstanding criminal charges.  Every one of them criminal opportunists just waiting for an opportunity for an easy score.  The revolving doors of a soft Justice system undoubtedly contributed to the problem.

In a City plagued by high violent crime rates, petty thefts simply don’t merit much attention.

At least not until some kid from Victoria BC doing charity work gets his bike stolen.

6 Comments

  1. I’ve found the first reaction to this story by many people is to victim bash.

    My wife also fell victim to that temptation.

    While its true that people should be aware of threats to their personal property and safety, it’s the crooks who need to be the subjects of our condemnation.

    It’s sad when someone tries to do something good and ends up becoming a victim of crime.

    Knowing Winnipeg….our community will find a way to make it right and get the young man back on two wheels.

    Thanks for sharing your comments.

  2. Not to mention the danger they present to elderly or frail senior citizens.

    I know the Bicycle Patrol Unit members used to frequently enforce riding on sidewalk violations, not sure if they do so now.

    I appreciate your comments.

  3. Tourism Winnipeg? What’s that?

  4. It’s not the victim’s fault, but I have to admit shaking my head when I heard this story. Leaving himself exposed like that seemed frankly, naive, considering the stakes, being so far from home and all his baggage hanging attached. I don’t think your bike would be safe in any city in Canada, left like that unlocked.

    Having had two unattended bikes stolen, I started locking my bike (sometimes double locked), without exception, and have been ok for the last 10 years.

    That being said, bike thievery has to be one of the very most obnoxious forms of petty crime.

  5. That actually sounds like it’d be an amusing and entertaining day at work!

    Not really related, but I’d like to see a crackdown on cyclists riding on sidewalks. Downtown I sometimes even see cyclists racing down sidewalks, passing by red shirt BIZ patrols or cadets… but nothing is done. I’ve seen pedestrians hit by cyclists on sidewalks, and I’ve have a few very close calls (within inches) myself.

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