A Perth resident has been left reeling after his electric bicycle, containing a pouch with his late uncle’s ashes, was stolen.
Gerry Clifford was on his way to a nearby lockbox to leave the pouch for safekeeping before the bike was snatched.
The incident occurred on April 20 at around 11am in front of Better Choice petrol station in Como.
Mr Clifford says he left his bike for a moment, to get assistance with an air pumping station that wasn’t working.
He says he was only gone for about 10 seconds but, by the time he returned, the bike was gone.
He says it isn’t the first time thieves in the area have targeted bikes.
While Mr Clifford believes no one saw the culprit, CCTV footage captured a tall man with a slim build fleeing the scene.
“I just wish I had put a tag on it. I was planning to, but I never got around to it,” he says.
Along with the ashes, the pouch contained unique gifts from his late uncle.
Mr Clifford describes the situation as “shattering”.
Mr Clifford says locals have been working together to help find his belongings.
WestCycle chief executive officer Wayne Bradshaw says people must always lock their bikes through both tyres and to a fixed object to ensure protection.
“People can also undertake things like registering their bikes with organisations such as BikeLinc, which help to trace them down in the event they’re stolen,” he says.
Mr Clifford’s story comes after reported cases of theft in the suburb of Como jumped by 11 per cent in 2021-22, according to WA Police.
Mr Bradshaw says bike theft is widespread.
“It’s an ongoing issue unfortunately, it’s a worldwide problem and it’s regrettable that people go down that path of stealing bikes,” he says.
Mr Clifford is asking the community to keep an eye out for his bike and special pouch and is offering a reward for those who come forward with useful information.
Police say the investigation is ongoing and ask anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report the information online at Crime Stoppers.