bike theft 

Spring bike thieves blooming Summer may be a good thaw and a month or so away, but as the trails and pathways around the Whistler Valley start emerging from underneath the snow cover, hearty mountain bikers are preparing to take to the trails. As the snow disappears, the mountain bikes — and mountain bike thieves —re-appear. Just ask Graham Turner and Jenn Seille. Turner and Seille were asleep in their White Gold house the night of Feb. 28-March 1 when someone broke into their locked garage and spun away with $10,000 worth of Specialized racing mountain bikes. Turner, an avid rider and manager of the Glacier Shop, had just been shipped his top toy of the spring — a full suspension, tricked out Specialized FSR factory model. He had it only four days. "I didn't even really get to ride it," says Turner of the $5,300 dream machine. "Somebody knew I had it and came looking." The bike was red with grey tires, XTR components and was missing the front deraillieur. The other bikes, a burgundy and grey Specialized Stumpjumper with front suspension forks and one unsuspended blue and grey Stumpjumper FSR were valued at over $2,000 each. Like many Whistlerites who are very careful about watching and locking their bikes, Turner and Seille didn't have house insurance. They had friends over that night and had stayed up visiting until 1 a.m. When they checked the garage at 10:30 a.m. the next morning to go cross-country skiing the bikes were gone. "Whoever did this knew what they were looking for," says Seille. "They left snowboards, ski equipment and all kinds of other gear you would expect a random thief to take... they were looking for Graham's new bike and the fact that there were two more high-end Specialized bikes there was a bonus." Whistler RCMP say there was no sign of forced entry into the garage and finding stolen mountain bikes is about as easy as finding stolen skis. Const. Rod MacLeod, head of the Whistler RCMP bike patrol, says even though the summer has yet to arrive, summer thieves work year-round and some extra precaution must be taken to protect expensive mountain bikes. "In this case, it's obvious they knew what they were looking for," MacLeod says. "This was not a crime of opportunity." As the price of mountain bikes increases, MacLeod says so to will the risks thieves will run to get their hands on them. He says it may be time to start not only bringing your bikes inside the locked garage, but locking them inside the garage. MacLeod doesn't want to say the thieves are coming from the Lower Mainland in search of hot bikes, but admits it's a possibility. "I don't know if the thieves are from the city," he says. "We like to expect they are because we don't like to think people like that are up here, but they are." Meanwhile, Turner and Seille will be keeping their eyes peeled for their bikes as they cruise the valley on their old one-speed cruisers.

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