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Stuart Watson thinks locked-up bikes are “damaged by vandals while the rider is in a store or bar, etc. He/she sees the wheel kicked in and is forced to leave it. Dealing with it is not worth it since it was a cheap bike.”
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Susan DeMartin said she’s lived downtown for decades and has noticed the “drug spillage from the Yonge/Wellesley area. Junkies stealing from retailers. Vandalizing. They all ride old beat up bikes. And they steal bikes.
“The police shut down a bike stealing ring, only to have another one start five minutes later. I have seen junkies dismantling bikes. I’ve also caught them casing an expensive bike. That’s when I approached and told them to leave not come back because I was watching them.”
“Back when Igor Kenk was caught in 2008, some news outlets reported he had bought a shipment of thousands of cheap bike locks from overseas. Apparently he had run out of storage space and found it was easier to lock his stolen bikes to public bike parking rings, using cheap locks.”
One of the most haunting, beautiful notes we’ve ever gotten came from a reader who said her son, who suffered from “a particularly severe form of schizophrenia,” had an “obsession with bicycles.
“Because of his mental state he’d lose track of where he left a particular bike, and move on to another one…or two…or five. At one time we thought he could have had 50-75 bikes (or more) that he had moved and locked up.
“My son died three years ago, so he isn’t doing this any more. And this certainly doesn’t account for all of the deserted bikes that are around. But I and his sisters remember him fondly when we see a tangle of deserted bikes lying by the side of the road.”