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Police recover over $70,000 worth of stolen bikes in ByWard Market

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The Ottawa Police Service has recovered 56 stolen bikes from the ByWard Market area, valued at approximately $71,050.

A new bike initiative run by the OPS D Platoon team conducted the recovery efforts between mid-May and mid-October.

In a news release on Tuesday, police say 32 of the 56 stolen bikes, valued at $42,600, were returned to their owners in person. 24 bikes, valued at $28,450, were found abandoned by police and their owners are still being sought.

29 of the 32 bikes returned to their owners were registered through the 529 Garage app or identified by police using the Stolen Bikes Ottawa Facebook group. The other three bike owners were identified through police reports.

Police said in 2021 that about 1,000 bicycles are stolen city-wide every year. Between 2016 and 2021, over 5,000 bikes were stolen, worth an estimated value of $3.3 million.

"During the pandemic, Ottawa has seen a record number of bike thefts, driven by their increasing value and unmatched versatility," said acting staff sergeant Evan Hung, who led the OPS bike initiative.

"Social media platforms, including Facebook and specialized platforms like 529 Garage, have proven to be an asset for law enforcement and bike owners."

Ottawa Police say they use digital tools to connect with the community, including sharing of key bike descriptors, to allow residents to play a role in the recovery of stolen bikes.

The D Platoon team also conducted a bike theft survey with the victims of thefts encountered through the initiative, which will be shared in the coming weeks.

Cylists can register their bikes on the 529 Garage app to let thieves and potential future buyers know the bike is registered to help police locate and return the bike if it’s stolen.

Victims of bike theft in the city can make a police report online.

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