Jordan Fulawka got to ride his $500 BMX bike for all of three weeks before it was stolen in broad daylight, while chained to his Red Deer townhouse.
“Even if I do get it back, it probably won’t be in mint condition, and I don’t have the money for new parts,” said the disappointed 21-year-old, who had set aside some of the money he receives on an AISH disability pension for the purchase.
The black low-rider BMX trick bike, with the words ‘Haro Downtown’ printed on the frame, had its serial number registered at Mud, Sweat and Gears after Fulawka bought it there on July 1.
At about 5:30 p.m. on July 23, Fulawka and his mother, Yvonne Dondo were watching TV in their residence in Clearview when Fulawka’s BMX bike was snatched by somebody who pulled bolt clippers out of his backpack.
The theft was recorded by a surveillance camera. Footage shows a young man with a black ball cap and backpack calmly walking by the townhouse. He approaches the bike that was chained at ground level to a balcony support post, stoops down to cut the lock and walks away with it.
Dondo said the bike actually had two locks on it, including an unbreakable one holding the rear tire to the bike frame. The thief couldn’t get that one off, so carried the bike away.
The disgusted Red Deer mother added her son, who has ADHD and mild autism, “was very upset… It’s a very brazen, cold, calculated thing. (The thief) brought the clippers, so he was probably thinking about doing this for a while…”
According to Red Deer RCMP, 92 bikes were reported stolen in the city since January.
“It’s very unfortunate what happened in this case. It seems the family did everything right” by chaining the bike up and having its serial number recorded, said Const. Francois Nadeau.
Bringing bicycles into a house, garage, or shed, if possible, is also recommended.
Nadeau said Red Deerians who see somebody walking around with bolt cutters should report this so police officers can question the individual.
While stolen bikes are occasionally taken to local “chop shops” and reassembled with different parts, Nadeau said this is relatively rare. Usually, bikes are stolen for personal use. They are ridden around for a while and then abandoned on the streets or in the woods.
If bikes are registered — Red Deerians are encouraged to do this for free through the Garage 529 app or the City of Red Deer’s website — then police can match the serial number to the owners and return the retrieved bike. So far, 1,729 bikes in Red Deer have been registered.
If a serial number is not recorded, then the recovered bicycles are kept in a police compound until owners can be found. If they can’t be located, the bikes are eventually sold off in an auction.
Nadeau said fewer bicycles have been reported stolen in the city since the pandemic began, possibly because more people are at home these days, leaving less opportunities for theft.
The situation didn’t help Fulawka, whose BMX bike was stolen while he was home, and in full view of his neighbours.
Dondo, who had her car tire slashed and window broken in 2021, is concerned about crime. She added a woman living across the parking lot actually saw the young male thief carrying her son’s bike away, but by his casual attitude, she never realized he was stealing it.
If anyone finds Fulawka’s BMX bicycle, or others that were presumably stolen and abandoned, they are asked to report the discovery to RCMP by calling 403-343-5575.