'My jaw dropped': Attempted bike theft by power saw-wielding suspects caught on camera

Toronto roommates Kamil Wrzesniewski and Tyler McCarthy have often heard stories about bikes being stolen from condo garages, but were astonished when a motion activated camera on their vehicle caught three suspects with a gas-powered saw in the act.

“My jaw dropped,” Wrzesniewski said after reviewing the footage.

The incident happened around 4 a.m. on August 18 at their condo near Jarvis and Front Streets. In the dashcam footage, the suspects spend about five minutes trying to figure out how to free the bikes from the locks. Unable to power up the saw, the suspects leave with only a small accessory bag. 

The friends were not aware what had happened for days until McCarthy noticed some minor damage to the bikes. That’s when they reviewed the footage. 

“It’s crazy, how did our bikes not get stolen,” said McCarthy. “We had no idea this had happened all week.”

“You hear stories about gated garages being broken into and bikes being stolen -- you never see it so clearly and up close like that,” said Wrzesniewski. “We’re so lucky those guys were so unorganized and couldn’t get that saw going.”

The roommates say they have since filed a report with Toronto police. Police confirm officers responded to a trespassing call at the condo.

“I commute on my bike every day when the weather permits and this whole thing has been a huge inconvenience since I had to repair the thing,” McCarthy said.

According to Toronto police data, the force received 21,584 bike theft reports between 2014-2019.

Only 252 bikes have been reported recovered. 

During that five year period, the hardest hit neighbourhoods are in the downtown area. Topping the list are communities along the waterfront where 2,271 bike theft cases were reported to police. 

“A lot of these unfortunately end up derelict and taken a part or under the Gardiner some place,” said Kevin Currie who co-owns Wheel Excitement, a bike shop near the Harbourfront Centre. He’s been in the bicycle rental and repair business for 29 years and says customers show up weekly with parts stolen from their bikes.

“Right now people are breaking into condos and they’re pretty familiar with how to get around the surveillance systems,” he said. “Expensive bikes are being pilfered for disc breaks, handle bars, seats and wheels. Some of those parts are almost the price of the bike itself.”

The issue not unique to Toronto. Halton Regional Police are also reporting an uptick in thieves targeting bicycles.

Police and experts recommend you invest in a U-lock or a hardened steel chain and padlock. They also encourage you to register your bike’s serial number with police saying it will greatly help with recovery if stolen.