A never-ending story – ‘Ruby, Don’t take your bike to town’.

We have reported on stolen bikes around Freo before.

The phenomenon has been going on so long that Tim Winton even wrote it into his novel Eyrie. One learned never to leave an unattended bike at South Beach.

But it seems to matter not where you might park your bike around Freo or whether, when you do, it’s tethered, bolted, or even guarded, the thieves are brazen. They will strike anywhere, night or day, as our further story on the topic illustrated.

It seems it is a never-ending Freo story.

Here’s yet another unfortunate, cautionary tale, as told in their recent letter to us by our regular readers, Wendy & Jerome Wisniewski of East Fremantle.

Dear Shipping News,

I’m hoping you might share our experience with your followers, to warn cyclists to Fremantle of the high risk of having your bicycle, especially your eBike, stolen from the city.

Our advice would be not to leave any bike locked up in Fremantle, regardless of the strength of your lock, and the presence of security cameras. Last Sunday, 2 July, after a very enjoyable few hours at Gage Roads, we emerged to find that both our Kalkhoff eBikes had been deftly removed from the cycle rack immediately adjacent to the main entrance of the premises, and in full view of the CCTV and other patrons. In fact patrons saw the culprits cutting through the lock with a portable angle grinder, but by the time they alerted Gage Roads staff the bikes had been ridden off by the thieves. Police were contacted within 10 minutes, but even though the theft is recorded on the Gage Roads security cameras, and police were in the vicinity, we have heard nothing.

One of Wendy and Jerome’s stolen bikes

In August last year a similar theft took place on Queen Victoria Street in front of the Centrelink building, and in full view of the Security guard outside Centrelink, and once again captured on the CCTV. The truck into which the eBike (again a Kalkhoff valued at $7000) was loaded was visible on camera, number plates visible, and yet the Police were unable to trace the vehicle or identify the thief.

We do wonder if this is an organised “racket” operating in the Fremantle area, exporting the stolen bikes interstate. We’d be interested to know if others have had bikes stolen in similar fashion? Our bikes were registered on the Bikelinc Crimestoppers website where the serial numbers were recorded together with photographs of the bikes.

Our other advice to cyclists is to put some form of electronic tracker into a secret spot on your bike so that if it is stolen you can at least see where it might be. We wish we had got a “round tuit” and done this. For now we shall not be cycling into Fremantle on any form of bicycle, and we will not be replacing our bikes again- it just isn’t worth the risk.

Thanks for warning others, and sharing our story to perhaps investigate the possibility of an organised “racket”.

Based on our earlier reports, and your recent experience, I think we can say, Wendy and Jerome, that, yes
* there is an organised bike stealing racket operating in the Fremantle area
* Freo Police are well aware of it
* The Police are seemingly powerless to deal with it
* that advised means of securing your bike in public places are of limited use and
* if you have a treasured or prized bike then, as Kenny Rogers (almost) sang –
Oh, Ruby
Don’t take your bike to town
Oh, Ruby, for God’s sake, turn around

* By Michael Barker, Editor, Fremantle Shipping News


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