A wave of thefts on motorcycles, scooters and vehicle batteries in Victoria and Esquimalt has Victoria police issuing a community warning.
Police statistics show that since January, 56 vehicles have been reported stolen, with over half of them being motorcycles or scooters.
“That’s a lot,” said VicPD community engagement officer Bowen Osoko. “We do see a slight increase [in these thefts] when it gets a bit warmer, but this is quite a rash.”
The targeted items include motorcycles, scooters, electric scooters with pedals, as well as batteries and accessories from similar vehicles, recreational vehicles and boats.
Osoko said that the thefts seem to be happening across the city but strangely enough, all around a similar time, leaving police uncertain if it’s just a sudden pique of interest, or a group of people working together.
“People tend to specialize, so it’s possible that it happens to be someone, or a group of people, who figured out how to steal these items.”
Osoko also noted that the battery thefts seem to only be happening in Esquimalt and Vic West, with incidences in such high numbers that patrol officers wrote up official hand bills and dropped them onto vulnerable-looking vehicles.
|A copy of a hand bill that the Victoria Police Department was handing out in Esquimalt after a rash of battery thefts from recreational vehicles and boats. (FILE CONTRIBUTED)|
Police have had a hard time tracking down the stolen items because thieves will often chop them and sell them for parts, or trade them directly for illicit items such as drugs.
Police advise people to take extra steps to secure their vehicles, including extra locks and chains, and to also be mindful of barriers that might deter thieves, such as driveway gates or cameras. They also encourage people to speak with their neighbours, join block watches and call the police non-emergency line if they see anyone suspicious in their neighbourhood.
Osoko said it’s important that people report stolen or chopped vehicles and any suspicious behaviours they’ve seen.
“With that information we can create a geographic profile, find out where it’s happening, when it’s happening and then, who is doing it.”
If you have any information on these thefts you can call the VicPD non-emergency line at 250-995-7654, or call anonymously to Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.