Theft of Mikayla’s tricycle has a happy ending, but highlights rise of petty crime in Dickson

James Coleman 28 October 2021 15
Mikayla Paine on tricycle

Mikayla Paine, 26, on her tricycle. Photo: Kagiso Tshepo Ratlhagane.

It’s 4 am in the morning and there is some rustling in the bushes outside. A clang at the gate and it’s gone. A sky-blue tricycle that is the only way 26-year-old Mikayla Paine gets around has just been stolen from outside her brother-in-law’s townhouse in Dickson.

Mikayla has autism and high anxiety. Her brother-in-law, Kagiso Tshepo Ratlhagane – also known as Kag – describes her as a pleasure to be around.

“She’s very active,” he says. “That bike is her mode of transportation. She loves riding, and does about five to 10 kilometres a day. That’s the only time she’s off the devices she uses to cope.”

Mikayla’s dependence on the tricycle, coupled with the fact it was a day before her birthday, dealt a doubly devastating blow when it was stolen.

“She was crying and very upset,” says Kag.

He runs a Canberra dance company which also provides disability support work. Mikayla spends some time with him and his partner when she isn’t living with the rest of her family in Ainslie.

Blue tricycle

Mikayla Paine’s stolen tricycle was recovered nearby. Photo: Kagiso Tshepo Ratlhagane.

“We have a hedge covering around the front of the townhouse and she parks it in the front yard,” says Kag. “That night, stupidly, we were in a bit of a rush and I forgot to lock the gate. It was closed, but not locked.”

The only way Kag knew the time of the tricycle’s disappearance was thanks to his sleep app.

“I’ve got this app on my phone that tracks your sleep patterns and that night at around 4 am, it picked up some sounds of rustling in the bushes,” he says. “They must have also crashed the bike into the fence as they were trying to take it.”

Luckily, this is a story with a happy ending.

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Word about the theft travelled quickly on social media and before long a woman reached out to Kag, saying that her daughter had just come back from a run and had spied the bike propped up against some bins at a Dickson apartment complex.

“I went for a drive and found it,” says Kag. “I didn’t really want to get into a confrontation with anyone so I just took it and rode it back to our place.”

Despite the fact they had already purchased a replacement tricycle, the return of the original was met with a welcome reception.

“Mikayla is very happy,” says Kag. “She says she now has two bikes.”

Mikayla Paine on tricycle

Mikayla Paine is very active and rides five to 10 kilometres every day. Photo: Kagiso Tshepo Ratlhagane.

Kag has been living in Dickson since 2014 and says petty crime has really taken off during the past two years. Many of his neighbours have had their cars broken into and their apartments ransacked.

He says when the theft was reported to police, they were met with disinterest and inaction.

“About a year ago, a guy tried to break into my apartment by smashing the window while I was there asleep,” says Kag. “Earlier this year, I had my car parked on the street and someone smashed the windows, going on to smash several more car windows throughout the street. The theft of the bike is the third incident in the space of two years.”

So far in 2021, Canberra’s inner north has the second highest number of reported crimes of all the ACT’s regions, after Belconnen. This includes 541 in Dickson. Of these, 58 consisted of property damage, and 186 of theft. These numbers are lower than some historical years, but with two months to go before the end of 2021, they have already exceeded the numbers for 2020.

“Something is going on,” says Kag.

He did contact police regarding all three incidents but was told there was not much they could do. Conversations with the body corporate have proven equally fruitless.

“To be fair, we should have locked up the bike and locked the gate,” says Kag. “We’re just glad there’s a positive ending this time.”

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15 Responses to Theft of Mikayla’s tricycle has a happy ending, but highlights rise of petty crime in Dickson
Rob Rob 7:12 pm 31 Oct 21

“These numbers are lower than some historical years, but with two months to go before the end of 2021, they have already exceeded the numbers for 2020.

“Something is going on,” says Kag.”

The parallel legalisation—or decriminalisation as the govt prefers to call it—of cannabis in the ACT may be contributing to the surge in property crime. What did the government think would happen? Drug users would save up their pennies in a Dollarmites account for their next score?

Samantha Robertson Samantha Robertson 7:12 pm 31 Oct 21

I watched a bicycle robbery in progress one night (2 blokes with a ute) - multiple bikes from my local area. Called ACT Policing and reported it. Took photos of the offenders - including rego deets. Police took my details and that was it. Completely disinterested.

    Glenn Ralfy McPherson Glenn Ralfy McPherson 8:18 pm 31 Oct 21

    Samantha I reported similar here, a no hoper walking a ridiculously expensive road bicycle, I reported it to Shepparton Police, report made.. a week later there are flyers in town from owner seeking information about a missing $4500 bike, with crimestoppers number on it! Never found.

    Nada Krstin Nada Krstin 10:10 pm 31 Oct 21

    Samantha Robertson maybe post the rego details on CBR Community Notice Board - at least our whole community will be aware and look out for the rego of the ute stealing all the bikes...

Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 5:56 pm 31 Oct 21

I doubt many petty criminals read the riot-act but these are stories that need to be told about the impact such crimes have on people.

I really wish I had been able to describe to the young person that stole my car and then totalled it a few years ago how much anxiety and stress that caused me. Mentally and financially.

Katy Did Katy Did 4:10 pm 31 Oct 21

......and many by 13-15 years old and ACT just changed the legislation so that under 16 cannot be charged. Expect a huge ‘poo party’ everyone

Kathleen Beck Kathleen Beck 3:42 pm 31 Oct 21

Only going to get worse if the Indue Cashless welfare card goes national which ScoMo wants.

    Ash Miller Ash Miller 5:22 pm 31 Oct 21

    meanwhile the highest rents in the country in a city with no real growth constraints is nobody’s fault right?

    Nada Krstin Nada Krstin 9:44 pm 31 Oct 21

    Kathleen Beck really?

    Theft & crime is a subjective choice by the perpetrators themselves only...

    The 'poor' still have morals and know right from wrong...those without morals or feel 'entitled' will always be who they are and blame something/someone for their actions ... (whether poor or not) ..

    Geoffrey Bell Geoffrey Bell 9:45 pm 31 Oct 21

    Ashley Hillstead That is the local Labor/Greens rental law which is causing the large increase in rents. Investors are taken cash off the table and exit stage left. other assets to invest in. The local government sets the rules, don't blame the investor, they just working within the laws set out to them.

Trish Deards Trish Deards 3:12 pm 31 Oct 21

So glad all ended well ..from the nan if an autistic young man. May I ask where you purchased your trike ? Thank you and bless.

    Carly Maree Paine Carly Maree Paine 9:33 pm 31 Oct 21

    Trish Deards Hi Trish, the bikes are awesome and the new one was purchased from the bike shop in Franklin 😃

    Trish Deards Trish Deards 9:38 pm 31 Oct 21

    Carly Maree Paine many thanks, Càrly.

    Carly Maree Paine Carly Maree Paine 9:40 pm 31 Oct 21

    You’re so welcome ❤️

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