Locals help in bike hunt

Kenilworth resident Barbara Kohl is over the moon that she got her bicycle back after it was stolen in front of Claremont library.
Kenilworth resident Barbara Kohl is over the moon that she got her bicycle back after it was stolen in front of Claremont library.
Barbara Kohl (75) from Kenilworth is all smiles because of the effort that her fellow community members put in to find her bicycle, which was stolen from outside the library in Claremont.
Kohl says she is very grateful of the joint effort to get her bicycle back, but most of all she is grateful to security guard Lennox from the library who went the extra mile to make sure that the bike was returned to her.
She says the time from when her bicycle was stolen until she got it back was a roller coaster of emotions. She was very sad, angry and hurt because it was her third bicycle stolen in a few months.
The former teacher says she went to the library on Saturday 23 January at 11:30. A few minutes later someone tapped her on the shoulder to ask if she was the owner of the white bicycle outside, which she had left on the bike rack.
“Then the person told me the bike had just been stolen. I couldn’t believe what I just heard. It was unbelievable because the bike was my everything and all of a sudden it was gone,” she says.
She had left her four-week-old mountain bike chained with a “fat big chain”.
“In a state of confusion, I wanted to hear what had happened to my bike. Everyone was telling me bits and pieces, I couldn’t even know what to believe. In my moment of misery two incredible people came to my rescue. One of them told me that the Library Square had cameras,” she says.
And fortunately they were allowed to view the footage.
“We could clearly see what happened. These new bikes have no screws on the saddle but they have levers. So he just unscrewed them, took the bike and he was off, leaving the chain on the bike rack.

“As we were viewing the footage the security manager paused a bit and told us the man in the video who had taken the bike was wanted by police for other crimes.”

“It gave me hope that a lot of people were looking for him. After seeing what had happened, everyone was willing to help. I went to the police to report the theft and people were on the lookout,” Kohl says.
In the early hours of the morning she got a call. She was told they had found her bicycle and it was at the police station with the person who had stolen it.
“I was told they got it a few hours after I left. I was so happy when I saw my bike. Happy for getting the bike back, but really happy that there are still people who can go the extra mile to help. It was really easy for the security guard to say it’s just a bike and people have had other far important things stolen, but they went the extra mile,” she says.
Kohl was told the man who had stolen her bicycle came back to the Library Square that same afternoon, still in the same clothes – that’s how he was caught.
He was brought in for questioning by the security manager and admitted that he had stolen the bicycle and sold it for R200 to someone at a church in Imam Haron Road.
The security guards found the bicycle there.
Vilma Maritz, a resident who helped Kohl, says the more we help each other the better.
“She was crying out of control. You could see how dear that bike was to her. It is terribly important that we help whenever we can. This really shows how much good can come from a combined effort of private security, individuals and police,” says Maritz.

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