NEWTON — When Victoria Langone found what she believed was a stolen bike on her property, she did what RCMP urge residents to do – she called it in.
But the Bear Creek resident said she was met with resistance when she called to report the bicycle she found wedged between her fence and motorhome.
“I called the RCMP report desk and he asked for a serial number. I could not provide this and was then told to put the bike in my vehicle and bring it to the police station. Why is a stolen bike on my property now my problem to resolve?”
Langone says she has back problems and couldn’t pull the bike out. She said the man then asked her why she believed the bike to be stolen.
“I thought that was kind of comical because people don’t usually just dump their bikes,” said Langone.
She claims she wasn’t even asked for her address or name.
“He just reiterated they don’t pick up stolen bikes. He just said, ‘No.’”
Langone said she wonders why it would be her job as a resident to dispose of a stolen bike.
“I can’t believe this,” she said. “And on top of that, some poor person is out there without their bicycle.”
That night, the bike in question was stolen from her property.
She can’t be sure whether the dumper came back to her home to retrieve the bike, or someone else snuck in to steal it, but it left her feeling uneasy.
She was home alone that night.
Langone said she was surprised at the RCMP’s response, seeing as Surrey has put a focus on increasing its police presence.
“They say, ‘You need to report everything. If you don’t, we don’t know about it.’ Well here it is. We’re calling. And they won’t even take a report,” she said.
Langone manages a few townhouse complexes in Surrey, and has attended many RCMP meetings where her tenants are encouraged to call everything in.
“But now I get their resistance to call. Why would you if nothing gets done?” asked Langone.
“I have been a taxpaying citizen of Surrey for 15 years and am very disappointed,” she added.
Surrey RCMP responded to Langone’s concerns with a statement.
“If someone reports a found bike with little to no information (i.e. no serial #) and no confirmation of it being stolen, our officers will generally not be assigned to pick this up,” said the emailed statement, which suggested residents call other service providers or organizations to pick such items up.
The detachment added, “There may be those rare exceptions when, depending on the circumstances and the availability of our operational officers, an officer will be assigned to pick something like this up during the course of their duties. Unfortunately we receive many reports of found property with no identifiable markings and of little value which makes it very difficult to find the owner.”
Police say they continue to encourage residents to report suspicious activities or people to police.
“How we respond to them depends on a large volume of factors, however, everything that is reported to us gets entered into a database and tracked. This then forms the basis of our crime reduction and prevention efforts and the crime analysis that goes along with this.”
Following a rash of break-and-enters in Cloverdale’s Hillcrest Village area earlier this year, the business community urged residents to call anything in – even if it’s just a suspicious character lurking around. At the time, Surrey RCMP Staff Sgt. Martin Blais, zone commander of the area including Clayton and Hillcrest, agreed.
“If you see something that doesn’t click, call us,” Blais told the Now. “When in doubt, call us. We need to know.”