Cape Town - Owners of expensive bicycles have been urged to take care after a string of thefts in the city.
Matt Eagar, founder of the cycling website The Hub, reported a number of incidents by online visitors reporting their bikes stolen.
He said: “I’ve noticed a definite spike in reported bicycle thefts in the Cape Town area since the beginning of December. Based on reports submitted in the ‘stolen bikes’ section of our discussion forums.”
This section allows cyclists to report stolen, recovered or suspected stolen bikes.
One Capetonian, Enver Kuun, reported his Specialised Epic Carbon 29er stolen off a rack on the back of his car parked at the V&A Waterfront on December 4.
“It was within the view of two surveillance cameras and within 10m of two security guards,” he said. “I reported it on The Hub and within 10 minutes I was contacted.”
A local photographer had spotted “an expensive-looking” bicycle being ridden by someone who did not resemble the type of rider who would own an R84 000 bike, and he photographed the suspect. The bike has still not been recovered. Kuun has offered a R10 000 reward.
Other bikes reported stolen on The Hub are:
* Specialised S-Works and Raleigh Team road bikes stolen off a bike rack in the parking area at Die Burger Cycle Tour at Stellenbosch High School on December 2. The S-Works is worth between R60 000 and R80 000 while the Raleigh between R15 000 and R20 000.
* A Pyga OneTen 29er from Parow on December 6 worth between R30 000 and R40 000.
* A Giant Anthem X29 stolen from a shed in Harfield Village valued between R20 000 and R30 000.
Eagar said: “It would be difficult for these stolen bicycles to be sold through the known local channels such as second-hand traders or online classifieds like The Hub.
“With access to social platforms like The Hub, Twitter and Facebook, news of these stolen bikes spreads fast.
“There are simply too many eagle-eyed individuals online and in stores who’d quickly identify and report these bikes should they come up for sale.
“Most of the bikes reported stolen are high-end specialist bikes which are easily identifiable. Certainly many bikes are likely to have been stolen by ‘opportunist’ thieves who unknowingly happen upon a high value prize, often selling them off for mere fractions of their true worth.”
But despite the spate of thefts, Eagar said he had no evidence to suggest any sort of syndicate in operation.