ACT Policing is asking the Canberra community to be extra cautious when buying e-scooters and e-bikes from online marketplaces after a string of burglaries from local retailers.
There have been at least ten break-ins at ACT bike and e-scooter retailers since 31 January, with store owners estimating it has cost them more than $200,000.
Police say items similar to those stolen have been advertised online and are warning potential buyers to beware.
Officer in Charge of ACT Policing’s Proactive Intervention and Diversion Team Inspector Craig McPherson said if there was a brand new e-bike or e-scooter offered for sale at a very cheap price, Canberrans should think twice before buying it.
“The old saying about something being too good to be true really does apply here,” Inspector McPherson said.
“Buying stolen property not only rewards criminal behaviour, it can also put you in line to be charged for possessing stolen goods, or what you buy may be confiscated by police.”
Inspector McPherson also warned that, in some instances, stolen e-vehicles don’t function as expected. They require a unique code to be unlocked from their demonstrator mode.
He also warned that retailers were aware of the rise in burglaries and would be wary of people looking to buy parts for a stolen unit.
The break-ins have already caused one store-owner to reconsider his future in Canberra. Jack Southall, the owner of Canberra Electric Bikes in Phillip and Cookies Cycles in Franklin, has six shops in Sydney and two in the ACT. The Franklin shop has been hit three times in two months while the Sydney stores have never been targeted.
“Getting robbed that many times, it makes you think, ‘is Canberra really worth it?’,” he said.
ACT Policing is continuing its investigations after one man faced court on Friday (4 March) on charges relating to the burglaries.
Anyone with information that can assist police is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website. Quote 7043995.