Toronto Cyclist Reclaims Stolen Bike in Kijiji Sting Operation

Bike thieves messed with the wrong guy

Toronto resident Omer Lifshitz wasn’t about let himself become another one of the city’s many victims of bicycle theft. Lifshitz’s road bike, estimated to be worth about $1,200, was stolen from his porch earlier this month. When his girlfriend sent him a photo of the bike for sale on Kijiji, Lifshitz first called police before taking matters into his own hands.

Police told Lifshitz they would contact the seller and request the serial number in an attempt to confirm whether or not it was the same bike. That wasn’t going to cut it for Lifshitz. Lifshitz, his girlfriend, and another friend arranged to meet the seller at the Ellesmere RT station the morning after contacting police.

“Until the guy showed up I was really nervous that this wasn’t even going to happen,” Lifshitz told CBC. Lifshitz’s friend took the bike for a “test drive” while he snapped some photos of the seller. “When there was finally a bit of an acknowledgement that this was my bike, he had no problems sticking around and waiting for the police to come to settle the matter,” Lifshitz said.

Police are advising others against attempting their own “sting” operations to recover stolen bikes and other property. Lifshitz would like to see police take stolen bike reports more seriously.

“I would have hoped that they would have gone to his house and looked at the bikes… Because he invited them to look at the bikes, they could have easily run the serial numbers. He invited them to,” Lifshitz said. “I don’t know why that never happened. But you know there could have been another half dozen people who could have had their bikes back.”

Toronto police acknowledged that there is a significant backlog in stolen bike reports, but they insist that all claims are looked into within 72 hours.