That’s how Andrew Cameron, a traveller from Australia, described the reunion with his stolen mountain bike on Wednesday afternoon.
Cameron had just arrived in B.C. from Adelaide, South Australia, for a six-month biking trip in Whistler, when he stopped by Metropolis at Metrotown on May 12 to exchange some money for a hostel stay. He locked up his bike at a rack near the bus loop rack, and was only inside for a dozen minutes or so, but that was long enough for an alleged pair of thieves.
“I came out and the bike was gone,” Cameron said. “I ended up calling security straight away. They got on to the police really quickly and got security camera footage.”
Burnaby RCMP’s community response team was able to identify a suspect from the surveillance footage. The 33-year-old Burnaby man was arrested a short while later but Cameron’s bike was not recovered so the search continued for the $1,650 mountain bike.
Desperate to find the bike, Cameron trolled the Internet in case someone was trying to sell it, and sure enough he found it. He contacted the Burnaby RCMP, which checked the online and confirmed it was, in fact, Cameron’s bike.
An undercover operation was initiated, and on July 2 officers “bought” the stolen bike from an online vendor and arrested a 47-year-old Burnaby woman in the process.
“Being a mountain biker myself, I know how important it is to get your bike back,” said Cpl. Daniela Panesar, spokesperson for the Burnaby RCMP. “It was some good work by our community response team.”
On July 8, Cameron was reunited with his mountain bike, more than two months after it was first stolen. In the meantime, he had purchased a used bike so he could at least do some riding on the trails in Whistler, which was the whole purpose of his trip.
“It was absolutely horrible when I first learned I’d lost it, because I came over here for a riding holiday so it was based entirely around this bike, and then to come outside and see it was gone, it was heartbreaking,” Cameron said. “It was a soul-crushing experience.”
With his bike safely returned, Cameron said he’s excited to get back to Whistler and finally hit the trails with his own ride.
“I’m so appreciative, I can’t say enough. I’m finally going to start on that bike holiday now,” Cameron said with a big smile.
Charges are still pending against the two suspects. The man is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 26 and the woman is expected back on Sept. 10.