Bicycle theft on the increase

The woman leaving the basement with a bicycle.

A string of bicycle thefts, which appear to be by the same group, has the trustees of a Newlands block of flats worried.

Several expensive bicycles, ranging in value from R20000 to R115000, have been stolen at the complex since August last year, with five bicycles stolen in June this year.

The “group” hit the block three times in the same week from Monday June 18 to Saturday June 23.

On CCTV footage, two men — one wearing a striped hoodie and blue cap and the other a black tracksuit pants and black cap — can be seen scouting the area, before lifting and manually opening the gate to the complex.

A woman wearing black tracksuit pants, a black hoodie, black-and-white takkies and with a scarf partially covering her face, can then be seen entering the parking lot, followed by the two men.

They emerge a few minutes later, each with a bicycle in hand.

The same group tries their luck just before 6am on Friday June 22, again manually opening the gate.

Their plans are, however, interrupted by a tenant leaving for work.

But they come back the very next day, Saturday June 23 at 4.30am. This time, only the woman wearing the same clothes and the man in the stripped hoodie can be seen, and they get away with two bicycles.

Trustee member Simon Muggleston, who had two of his bicycles stolen in August last year, says they are concerned by the brazen nature of this group.

“They look as if they know what they are doing and are comfortable enough to come back,” he said.

In CCTV footage from August 2017, one woman — who appears to be the same as the one in the latest footage — and two men are seen leaving the basement parking with three bicycles, through a side entrance.

A blue Renault Megane with gold rims can also be seen around the block at the time of the bicycle thefts.

Mr Muggleston fears a syndicate may be operating in the area and he is worried about tenants being put at risk, even though the entire block is access controlled.

“We are concerned about the safety of our tenants and want to raise awareness for residents in the surrounding areas,” he said.

Claremont police spokeswoman, Colonel Maree Louw, said bicycle thefts had become a problem in Newlands and Claremont.

“We need to find out who is buying these bicycles or where they are being sold. These type of crimes have been ongoing which shows there is a market for it,” she said.

Colonel Louw said the police would follow up on the latest incidents at the complex.

She confirmed a case had been opened in August last year but had been closed as undetected.

Mr Muggleston said the thieves were making a good living off stealing the bicycles and he wanted them brought to book.

Colonel Louw urged residents to be more vigilant and lock garage doors, gates and cars.

“We have had complaints from our sector commanders regarding the number of unlocked garages, windows and cars they come across,” she said.