Delta police pose as Facebook Marketplace buyers to catch alleged e-bike thief

A Delta police cruiser is seen in this undated photo from the department's website. (Delta police)

Police in Delta posed as would-be buyers on Facebook Marketplace to retrieve a stolen electric bicycle.

The Delta Police Department says a resident who had their e-bike stolen during a break-in over the summer reached out for help after seeing what they believed to be the same bike listed for sale on Facebook Marketplace.

"The resident fortunately knew their bike well and was able to identify several specific characteristics from the bike, that they passed along to police," says Acting Staff Sgt. Jason Boyce in a news release Thursday.

In an email to CTV News, Delta police say it was a VOLT e-bike with a number of after-market accessories that made it distinctive in the Marketplace posting, including a different seat and specialty water bottle holder.

Police set up a sting operation and met up with the seller.

"At the same time as they recovered the bike, officers confirmed the identity of the suspect and were able to execute two outstanding warrants on him," says Boyce.

"One warrant was for breach of probation and another warrant was in regard to unlawfully possessing identification of another person."

The suspect has been identified as a Langley man in his mid-twenties and he is considered to be a prolific property crime offender, police say.

Police added that the suspect is not currently in custody, but he has a court date pending in early October relating to the outstanding warrants.

At this point, officers have not yet forwarded any charges to Crown prosecutors for consideration.

Officers have since returned the e-bike to its rightful owner.

“What was key in this case was that the rightful bike owner had significant information to help police correctly identify the bike,” says Boyce.

“We recommend that bike owners register their bike through Garage 529, photograph their bike and record any identifying information about the bike, such as serial numbers.”