Summerhill Bike Theft Caught on Video
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Summerhill Bike Theft Caught on Video

Ever wondered how Toronto bike thieves do what they do? This video has answers.

Bikes are stolen in Toronto every day and many are never returned. But when Simon Bradley’s 2011 Marin Inverness was taken from in front of his office building at 1300 Yonge Street on Wednesday, he knew he wasn’t entirely out of luck.

A career librarian for the Ontario Teachers’ Federation, he’d parked his various bikes in that same location for a decade. He’d done so because there was a security camera nearby.

When his Inverness went missing, Bradley went to the building’s supervisor and got the video file. That’s how this particular bike theft came to be one of the small minority of cases to have its video evidence trail uploaded to YouTube.

The video, embedded above, takes a little while to get interesting. At about 35 seconds in, a bald man with sunglasses rolls up on a red mountain bike, and parks it near a bike rack. He spends the next minute or so studying the other bikes that are stored nearby. Then he disappears from the frame.

At about 3:15, he reappears. This time, he’s holding a tool that looks like a pair of bolt cutters. He quickly walks out of the frame. A woman with a large backpack walks into the frame from the right, mounts the red mountain bike, and rides away. At the same time, the bald man rides back into the frame on a new bike—the bike Bradley says is his. The two cyclists ride off quickly and don’t return.

This, apparently, is how thefts happen. Most of the time, all a victim gets to see is his or her clipped lock lying on the ground.

“I was using a Kryptonite cable lock,” says Bradley. “Mea culpa, right? Lesson learned. I know I should have been using a u-lock.” Over years of habitually using the cable, he’d never had a bike stolen.

A friend of his posted the video to YouTube, and started a thread about the incident on Reddit, where users have been baying for the blood of the two apparent thieves since yesterday.

Bradley finds the video infuriating. “When I realized that [the bike] had been stolen, I was upset but I wasn’t too upset,” he says. “But then, when I actually saw it on video, I was really angry, particularly when I saw there were two of them and that they arrived on bikes.”

The bike is black, with green rims and a green chain. It went missing between 3:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. on August 29. Bradley’s friend (the one who posted the video on Reddit) is seeking information that might lead to the bike being returned. If you have any, you can email him.

For his part, Bradley says he’ll be buying a new bike soon. In the meantime, he’s riding the TTC.