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What can I do if my bike is stolen?

A bicycle rack with only the front wheel of a bicycle remaining. Stock photo by Getty Images.

Someone has stolen your exercise buddy and vehicle of choice — your bike. What to do now?

The first thing is to file a report with the police. It is very helpful to provide the police with the serial number, make, model, and a photo of your bike.

Serial numbers cannot be easily scraped off. They are usually on the bottom of the bracket.

The information will be stored in the Canadian Police Information Centre database of stolen property. Recovered bicycles are checked against the database. This database is available to the public as well.

Think insurance next. Some automobile and home insurance policies also insure bicycles. Try to find out if you stolen bike was covered.

Stolen bikes are often sold on online shopping forums, such as eBay, Kijiji, and Craigslist as they offer more anonymity. Monitor these web sites. If you find postings that feature bikes similar to yours in your geographic area, report them to the police.

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can be very helpful in spreading the news. At the very least, your friends, family, and neighbours will be alerted to bike theft in your area.

Bike theft appears to be on the rise in major Canadian cities. Theft and possession of stolen property are serious crimes under the Criminal Code. They may be punishable by jail time ranging from six months to 10 years.

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