Bikes worth $14,000 stolen after culprits walk into apartment complex
A Southbank resident has been left seething after brazen thieves stole their electric bicycle worth $3000 and other bikes from a secured bike room within their apartment building.
The resident said CCTV showed three people gaining unauthorised entry into the Botanic Complex on Coventry St about 4am on August 10, with one holding what appeared to be an electric grinder.
According to the victim, who wished to remain anonymous, two had their faces covered using an umbrella while another had a scarf wrapped around their face while they were in the lobby, before going to the bike room on the ground floor.
There, they stole the resident’s bike, a Cube Town Sport Hybrid 400 with a baby seat, as well as two other bikes belonging to other residents, worth a total of $14,000.
“On the night, about midnight they followed some tenants into the building foyer,” the victim said, before “they looked around”.
“They came back again at 4pm, faces covered with an umbrella [and they] went straight to the bike room.”
The victim said their bike was safely secured but was left feeling “shocked and angry” when they found the metal locks broken on the ground.
The 20-storey luxury building has previously come under scrutiny after reports of drug use, aggressive behaviour, and violence emerged from disgruntled residents in December 2021, which resulted in a security guard being hired to patrol the front entrance.
The alarming incidents had occurred after the state government purchased 13 apartments to house for people formerly experiencing homelessness as part of its From Homelessness to a Home Program.
However, according to residents at the Botanic, the unwanted behaviour appeared to be “not as bad” since the height of COVID-19 lockdowns.
The victim of the bike theft said they believed one of the culprits – whose face was exposed momentarily on CCTV – may have been a former resident who was “kicked out” following complaints of being noisy and shouting.
They said they believed the person may have also been active on a local Facebook group, with the resident passing on the name to police in the hope it may assist their investigation into the theft.
The resident also posted their missing bike and details of the theft on social media, however, to their shock, a scammer located in the US, contacted the victim and others saying they could find the bike for $100 US.
Earlier this year, residents’ group Southbank3006 hosted a forum with Victoria Police to discuss and develop strategies to improve bike and scooter safety and security in apartment buildings and on the streets of Southbank, following a growing concern of thefts.
Southbank Police commander Senior Sergeant Alex O’Toole has previously spoken of opportunist thieves using cars to tailgate into residential car parks before stealing items from storage cages.
To prevent bike thefts, Victoria Police advised people to use D-locks and parkiteer bike cages at railway stations. •
Caption: The stolen bike, a Cube Town Sport Hybrid 400.