Appliances, e-bikes trending as stolen items: Vancouver police
Rob Kavanagh, of Able Auctions, displays a mountain bike worth $3,200 retail, which will be auctioned off for about 20% of that at the annual Vancouver Police Recovery Auction. The auction is composed of goods that have been recovered by the VPD and have gone unclaimed for a period of six months. Wednesday, April 23, Vancouver, B.C. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
Vancouver police are trying to convince the public that hot theft targets such as bicycles and electronics need to have identifying features marked as the force prepares to sell another haul of recovered stolen items.
Vancouver Police Department property and forensic storage manager Ian Wightman said on Wednesday many of the items were found in makeshift warehouses stuffed with stolen items by thieves.
“A lot of them are through fraudulent credit cards,” he said. “We have exhausted all of our avenues trying to get it back to the rightful owners so it’s just a matter of clearing house.”
Hundreds of previously stolen power tools, appliances lifted from the sites of unfinished condos and designer clothes surround the 1,900-diamond centerpiece bracelet at the Vancouver police annual auction.
Wightman said it’d be best if the department didn’t have an auction at all and everyone claimed the stolen goods. It’s rare that someone actually leaves identifying markers or knows their serial number.
“Nobody marks their stuff for identification,” he said. “You spend $800 on a Burton snowboard … even if you used a black felt marker and wrote ‘property of Ian Wightman’ on there, you’d get it back.”
Every year in bicycle-friendly Vancouver, hundreds of bikes are recovered after being stolen. But Wightman said there’s a new trend — this year, there’s a handful of electric scooters and bicycles up for grabs.
“As we turn green these get recovered. Serial numbers are obliterated from them lots of times,” he said.
Rob Kavanagh of Able Auctions said another new category is fresh appliances taken from construction sites.
“Appliances, fridges, stoves and that kind of stuff, people are breaking into construction projects and stealing appliances.”
Auction hand Kyle Kavanagh said the oddest item to travel through the auction during his five years would likely be a set of mascots — lions, tigers — recovered by police.
“You see everything going through.”
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