Manitoba·Video

Winnipeg woman's faith in humanity restored after 'shitty bike' stolen

A Winnipeg woman posted profanity-laced posters around her neighbourhood after her bike was stolen on Saturday.

Posters laden with swear words go viral, dozens of strangers offer Sarah Arksey replacement bike

Arksey still hopes someone will return her 15-year-old bike, even though it was in poor condition. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

A Winnipeg woman posted profanity-laced posters around her neighbourhood after her bike was stolen on Saturday.

"I locked it up before work, came back about four or five hours later. It was broad daylight the whole time so I thought it was fine. I came back, bike was gone," said Sarah Arksey.

Arksey said the lock was intact and that thieves may have had to take the bike apart to steal it.

"I freaked out for a bit because that's my main mode of transportation in the summer."

Arksey put up about five or six posters in the Sherbrook and Osborne areas hoping to get her bike back. She also wanted to make sure her posters would get noticed.
Sarah Arksey hoped to get people's attention by using colourful language on her posters for her missing bike. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

"I wanted to get people's attention for sure. Unfortunately had [the posters] just [read] 'missing bike', it probably wouldn't have gotten the attention that it did," said Arksey.

In the ad, Arksey writes:

"WANTED - My shitty bike... Last seen: Chained to my f---ing fence, Sherbrook area."

"TO WHOEVER STOLE MY BIKE: The gear shift does not work. The kickstand does not work. The left brake is held on with duct tape." 

"Why the f--k did you steal my bike? I need this shitty f---ing bike to get to my f---ing job so that someday I may be able to buy a car."

"Just give me my f---ing bike back."

The ad goes on to ask for information and offers a reward for whoever returns it.

"I'll even buy you a king can of your choice," the ad reads.
A Winnipeg woman is posting profanity-laced posters around her neighbourhood after her bike was stolen on Saturday. 1:07

Arksey says she has reported the stolen bike to police but she isn't optimistic it will be returned. She has checked local pawn shops and Kijiji to see if she can find it on her own.

"I've also just been looking around the area because it was in such poor condition somebody might have just ditched it on the side of the road," said Arksey.

Arksey says even though the 15-year-old bike was not in good shape she still wants it back. It used to belong to her grandmother and she's been riding it for years.

"I will buy you a beer like I said on the ad. I was serious. I'm not going to ask any questions, I'm not going to get anybody in trouble, I just want my bike back."
Arksey says her bike was locked to the fence behind her porch. When she returned home on Saturday, the bike was gone and the lock was still intact. (Sarah Arksey)

Dozens of people offer to replace bike 

Since Arksey put up the posters on Sunday the images of the ad have made their rounds on social media, garnering hundreds of likes and shares.

Arksey says she never expected this kind of reaction. She has already had about 40 to 50 calls from people offering her a bicycle.

"It's totally restored my faith in this city and humanity in general," she said.

Arksey picked up a bike from a total stranger on Tuesday.

"I don't even know her name but I mean, thank you so much. It's fantastic."

Bike theft a growing problem

Earlier this year, the CBC found that bike thefts in the city had climbed by 15 per cent compared to the same period in 2015, and by 109 per cent since 2014, according to statistics from Winnipeg police.

Police reported that in 2014 a total of 816 bikes were reported stolen. That number jumped to 1,113 in 2015, and this year 262 thefts have been reported from January to May.

Cyclists and bike shop owners say the rate could be significantly higher, because many people don't bother reporting bike theft.

It is up to the individual to prove ownership of the bike. Riders can register their bike's serial number with the city for $6.40. If it's stolen and recovered, police can then return it.

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