December 1, 2022

North Vancouver couple track and recover stolen bike using hidden GPS device

Half a dozen bikes were stolen from the storage locker at his North Vancouver townhouse complex this year, so Travis – who asked CTV News not to use his last name – was not surprised when his wife’s bike went missing in August.

The couple replaced him two weeks ago, but they knew they had to take extra care. So they bought an Apple Airtag, a small GPS tracker that works by connecting to nearby internet-connected Apple devices, and hid it on the bike.

Last Saturday, a neighbor alerted them that the new $3,000 bike had just been stolen from the storage locker, along with several others.

“The first thing we did now that we had the ability to track his bike was we used our phones and we were able to identify where the trackable device was, where the Airtag was,” Travis said.

They were shocked to find it was only three blocks from where they were having lunch in lower Lonsdale. After roaming the area for 45 minutes, they were able to follow the Airtag signal to an underground parking lot.

“The way Airtags work is that once you’re within 50 meters of them, your phone can actually connect to them and it will give you a very precise location,” Travis said. “So at that point we knew we were very, very close to it. We had suspicions about who might have been in his possession in the parking lot, but not wanting to contact or lay charges, we just waited for the North Vancouver RCMP.

Media Relations Officer Const. Mansoor Sahak said North Vancouver RCMP officers arrived while the suspects were still in the parking lot.

“The police encountered two men near a vehicle, suspicious-looking men, and they struck up a conversation,” Sahak said. , which was our basis for arresting the two suspects.

The two homeless men have long criminal records. Sahak says Travis was smart in placing the Airtag on the bike and not personally confronting the suspects when he discovered they had the bike.

“We certainly don’t want people to take matters into their own hands and be vigilantes,” Sahak said. “Everything the man did was correct. He made sure his property was protected, he used a device correctly and waited for the police when he drove to the parking lot.

Travis said he recognized other bikes in the suspect vehicle that belonged to neighbors in his townhouse complex. They were all recovered using the Airtag, which is also frequently used to track lost luggage.

“I had reservations about how it would work, but I had read a number of stories similar to this one online that said it gave you a shot at getting your property back,” Travis said. “And for the $30 to $40 it costs us to put them on the bikes, we thought it was worth it at least given the climate we have with bike theft in our area right now. moment.”

His wife is still waiting to get her bike back from the RCMP. But when it renders, it will make sure the tracker is still on it.