Kenk's trove of stolen bikes finally dismantled

Some of the thousands of stolen bicycles amassed by Toronto bike store owner Igor Kenk are going to youngsters in the city's Cabbagetown neighbourhood

Downtown kids get bikes left over from theft case

Igor Kenk was first arrested in July 2008 on theft charges. ((CBC))

The remains of a trove of stolen bicycles amassed by Toronto bike store owner Igor Kenk are going to needy youngsters.

The CBC's Mike Crawley was on hand Monday as bikes and parts seized from Kenk, who was imprisoned in December in one of the biggest bicycle-theft cases on record, reached an inner-city neighbourhood.

"Here at the Cabbagetown Youth Centre," he said, "there are more than 1,000 bikes or partial bikes or frames being unloaded from four large transport trucks. These bikes are now going to be distributed to youth in this community, and they're going to be fixed up by youth in this community."

A plague of theft, a trove of bikes and parts

Kenk, owner of the Bicycle Clinic on Queen Street West, was arrested in July 2008. Police found thousands of bicycles and countless parts stored at his home, his business and garages he rented.

Bikes recovered in police raids are shown in a Toronto warehouse in 2008. ((Dwight Friesen/CBC))

Spiros Papathanasakis, director of the youth centre, said some good will come from the thefts as youngsters experience the freedom a bicycle can bring.

"But more importantly, it'll help our community and other communities," he said, "because kids will work for something, you know. Instead of just hanging, they'll be in there working, they'll be learning, and it'll bring our community together."

Hundreds of other seized bikes are going to such places as a native centre in Thunder Bay and a fly-in community in the province's remote northwest, the North Spirit Lake First Nation. Variety Village, a charity for disabled young people, gets a racing wheelchair.

"The rest of the bikes seized in the Igor Kenk bike-theft investigation, nearly 1,000, were actually returned to their owners, so this effectively closes the case. Today what has happened is that the rest of the bikes that were deemed to be stolen property are being distributed to the community," Crawley reported.