Bike theft victims taking to new Burlington FB page
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Some Burlington area residents fed up after their bikes were swiped are taking action, posting photos and video to a new Facebook group designed to help track them down.
“I’m like really mad and sad. I just want my bike back,” said Grace Bevelheimer of Burlington, whose bike was stolen from under her deck Wednesday morning. “I use it every day and it was a big investment for me. It’s also kind of a large problem where there’s a ton of people getting their stuff stolen and it really sucks, it’s just not fair.”
In response to what appears to be a growing problem, several frustrated residents like Bryce Turner joined together to create BTV Stolen Bike Report and Recovery, a public group on Facebook. “Just keep bikes in the hands of owners, and if they go missing, get them back in the hands of their owners,” Turner said.
Multiple times a day, photos of bikes are posted to the group. But how is the public supposed to know if they were actually stolen? “Part of it is just trust, trusting your neighbors. That’s why we’re asking people to record everything within the bounds of law, within the bounds of decency. If you see a guy cutting a lock, video it. If you see several bikes ditched in the woods, take a photo. Ask the right questions to make sure they’re getting back to who they belong to,” Turner said.
Burlington Police Deputy Chief Wade Labrecque says staffing levels are making it difficult for the department to follow up on many complaints. “It’s not like we’re trying to say those other things aren’t important -- because they are -- but we obviously have to look at what’s the greatest risk to the public, safety-wise, and work our way down from there,” he said.
Group members like Turner say it’s important to go to the police and avoid taking matters into your own hands. “We’re not trying to be vigilantes, we’re not trying to be the other cops. Nobody is trying to think of themselves as Batman, nobody is trying to get the bad guys. We just want to make sure that if a bike gets stolen and somebody sees it, it gets recovered,” he said.
Other bikers we spoke with Thursday say they’ve invested in strong bike locks and oftentimes use more than one. Facebook group members recommend checking in with a bike’s owner before posting or assuming a bike seen in the community was stolen.
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