Police in Copenhagen have arrested the owner of a bike shop and charged him with handling stolen goods after discovering his business had hundreds of stolen bikes for sale.
They were alerted to the operation after a man recognised his own bike for sale in the shop, which is located in the Nørrebro district of the Danish capital, reports thelocal.dk.
Police spokesman Sajjad Haider said: “We could establish that it was the informant’s stolen bicycle and when the officers looked around the shop they could quickly see that it was full of stolen bikes.
“There were Christiania bikes, expensive bikes and cheap bikes. We’re not completely finished counting them, but the amount of stolen bicycles is somewhere between 250 and 400.”
The 35-year-old man who was arrested could face up to six years in prison, although officers have not yet established exactly how he had so many stolen bikes in his shop.
They added that many of the bicycles discovered had had their registration plates removed.
Official data reveal that some 60,000 bicycles are reported stolen in Denmark each year, but only 400 of those – less than 1 per cent – result in criminal charges being brought.
Last year, a survey by the insurance company Alm. Brand revealed that one in six Danes – 17 per cent – admitted having stolen a bicycle.
Often, the bikes are taken by young people looking to make their way home after a night out.
Law professor Sten Schaumburg-Müller told Metroxpress: “There are many people who at one point in their youth have stolen a bicycle late at night to get home from a night out. And maybe they’ve stolen a bike that looked a little bit run down.
“Bike theft is something that is difficult to solve. But it’s also clear that if an area is consistently under-prioritised, that will have an effect on the magnitude of the problem,” he added.
Bike theft costs Denmark’s insurance industry some 200 million kroner each year, however, and Alm. Brand spokesman Mikael Sundby said: “I don’t think cycle thieves think about the consequences for the individual [bike owners] or for society.
“They probably just think that it’s merely a bike that can be easily replaced.
“But it’s not pocket change that our society is losing every day, and it is frustrating for those it affects.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.