Dale Boghean of Gibson’s watches as community police members Bruce Hagerman, left, and Glenn Haberlack place a security sticker on his bike. The program is part of the continuing 529 Garage app initiative which will be at Mike’s Pawnbrokers Saturday morning. Western News file photo

Pawnbroker on board to curb bike thefts

The owner of a Penticton pawn shop is wanting to be part of the solution rather than the problem when it comes to the stolen bicycle epidemic.

To that end, for the next month, Mike Schyrbiak of Mike’s Pawnbrokers has offered to pay the $5 fee for people wanting to register their bikes with Project 529 Garage an initiative being promoted by Penticton RCMP.

“I believe it’s a good cause and there is a problem and it affects our business so I think it’s just one way we can make an effort to help,” said Schyrbiak. “With the new app if someone steals their bike then they do have pictures of the bike, they have pictures of themselves with the bike, identifying marks and serial numbers.”

By downloading the smartphone application or going to the online (529garage.ca) owners can download important details including serial number, brand and description as well as photographs.

In many cases owners of bicycles that are stolen do not have the necessary information to prove the cycle is legally theirs.

The information is then uploaded to a data base and if if the bike goes missing in the region an alert goes out to those on the website giving the police additional eyes on the road.

Police can also easily locate the owner if it is recovered.

The decal is also tamper proof so if it has tried to be removed it is an alert to anyone who sees it.

This is not the first time Mike’s Pawnbrokers has stepped up to assist RCMP regarding the matter of stolen bikes.

“Last fall when I went to the local pawn shops and asked them to stop selling bicycles Mike’s Pawnbrokers was the only one that agreed not to do that any more to help curb the problem,” said Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth of Penticton RCMP.

According Schyrbiak he did not stop entirely but continued dealing bikes only with customers in good standing or those with an official receipt.

“We used to deal with 50 bikes a month so if one of those 50 is stolen that’s 12 bikes a year and dealing with 12 stolen bikes a year we were part of the problem,” he said. “Like all other pawn shops you don’t know the state of what you’re taking in so we figured just not dealing with them was the best solution.”

This Saturday morning as part of the ongoing registration blitz officials will be at the 300-block of Main Street in front of Mike’s signing people up.

As well, registration can be done at the Community Policing office at 185 Lakeshore Dr. during regular office hours Monday to Friday.