As dusk loomed on Queen Street West this evening, the front door of Igor Kenk’s former bicycle repair shop was opened, and boxes of the now notorious thief’s belongings were shuffled out onto the sidewalk and offered for free to anyone who wanted them. Handmade signs reading “HELP! FREE STUFF” encouraged people to rifle through the contents and carry them away.
Passersby couldn’t help but stop and have a look, possibly due to the irresistible draw of free stuff, and possibly due to simple curiosity. The shop has been locked up and in stasis for months while legal proceedings decided on the fate of the building, its contents, and the thousands of bicycles found in his possession last summer. Looking over the bins of bike parts, crates of classical records, and old furniture was like getting a first-hand peek at the stage dressings of an infamous local legend.
It’s certainly not an adequate gesture, but a fitting one at least, that the contents of this grubby establishment should be offered up to the neighbourhood that Kenk stole from. Firm believers in poetic irony, Torontoist decided to claim an old bike lock that had likely failed its owner at one time.
There was no clear indication of who was responsible for the clear-out of Kenk’s old shop, but the civic settlement reached earlier this month may explain the timing. We can only hope that this is the first step in reclaiming a storefront that has sat for too long as a reminder of one man’s bad deeds.
Photos by Michael Chrisman/Torontoist.