2013-08-16 at 14:24
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Late-night bicycle thieves hit a local garden co-op hard overnight Friday.
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Six bikes, five belonging to the Roots to Harvest organization, were stolen from a locked greenhouse at the corner of Cornwall and Algoma Streets.
Erin Beagle, who directs the summer program, said it was a shock to discover the loss.
“My first reaction was disbelief and shock. I honestly thought someone had come in and borrowed our bikes or taken them somewhere. Talking to the other staff, they were obviously gone.”
Beagle says Roots to Harvest volunteers use the bikes to transport their vegetables from the garden to either the Water Street or city hall bus terminals, where they are sold at a discount to transit users – or at regular price to other consumers.
“We were here last night until ten o’clock, so somewhere between then and when we got here at 8:30 in the morning they’ve found a new home.”
Police have been notified, though an official report has yet to be filed. The group has also notified local pawn shops, asking them to be on the lookout for a large number of bikes.
The collection of stolen bikes included one belonging to a staff member. The other five were purchased through Bikes for Humanity for about $900.
Beagle said she suspects the bikes were hauled out through an open window at the back of the greenhouse, though the plants don’t appear to have been damaged in that area of the structure.
“To get them out of the window is kind of a big job, needing more than one person.”
She’d like them returned.
“We need those bikes to do mobile markets. We got a grant from the United Way to buy bicycles and helmets and trailers. We harvest food from our garden each year and we take it across town ... to sell to people who are on limited income and who might not have access to fresh vegetables,” Beagle said.
The program is in its final weeks, but while the thefts are discouraging, Beagle said it won’t stop the veggies from being delivered.
“It means a lot more juggling, it means pulling some favours, it means trying to make it work to try to continue. And we will continue, whether we walk down to the Water Street station or take the bus over to city hall. But we will make it work, one way or the other.”
Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call Thunder Bay Police Service.
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