Around 400 bicycles have been reported stolen in Estonia this year, 300 of them in Harju County where reported thefts are up 70 percent on year. Owners often find it easier to buy a new bike rather than wait for the case to be solved.
According to the police, most cases of bike theft take place in the heart of the capital Tallinn. "We are seeing a clear uptick compared to last year. In Tallinn and Harju County, cases of theft are up 70 percent. The number of bikes stolen has grown by more than a hundred," said Kaido Atspol, detective for the East Harju Police Department.
Atspol said that bikes are not difficult to steal. "They are in plain sight, often unlocked or only have a cheap lock and make for an easy target."
Bikes are usually stolen in public places, bike parking areas and stairwells.
Iaroslav's bike was stolen from the underground car park under his Kalamaja apartment building. A total of ten bikes were stolen during two nights.
"We have several theories for how these thefts could have occurred. The thieves may have forced open the main door to the garage. The door is not physically locked and can be forced open. I hope the police will uncover something. My bike was special to me," Iaroslav said.
Ethel's bicycle was stolen from the basement of her apartment building in Kristiine that was either broken into or someone left the door open. It has been two months since the theft.
"I started going through the classifieds, Facebook Marketplace... I went through all of them and the pawn shops. Unfortunately, I could not locate my bike and neither could the police.
The police said that owners typically buy new bikes because investigations take time. "Because I use my bike to go to work and love riding it, I could not live long without one. I bought a new bike virtually a week later," Ethel said.
Police work is concentrating on prevention, including the "Lukusta või kaota" (Lock or Lose) campaign to raise awareness.
"Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that we only seldom recover bikes. We may apprehend possible thieves, while the bikes are quickly sold on to new owners," Atspol said.
Editor: Marcus Turovski