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Stolen Bikes in Cambridge group helps reunite more than 100 owners with their bicycles

The Stolen Bikes in Cambridge Facebook page has now officially reunited 106 owners with their stolen bicycles since launching in September 2019.

However, Omar Terywall, who set up the page – and who describes himself as a “bit of a vigilante when it comes to bike theft in Cambridge” – says that the number is an under-estimate.

Omar Terywall, founder of the Stolen Bikes in Cambridge Facebook group . Picture: Keith Heppell
Omar Terywall, founder of the Stolen Bikes in Cambridge Facebook group . Picture: Keith Heppell

“We’re certain that’s it actually a lot more than that,” he notes, “106 is just what we’ve got on record – there’s many people out there that have got their bikes back and they’re just not on Facebook, or they’ve removed their original post.”

Following coverage of the group by the Cambridge Independent last year, Omar’s efforts were highlighted in the Sunday Times on January 31.

“I think the main reason for the article was just to say why haven’t the police been able to achieve this level of success,” he suggests.

The police have been criticised over their response to stolen bikes, but Omar believes things have in fact improved.

“I actually feel like over the past six months, they’ve stepped up their efforts,” he says. “We can see that from some of their social media posts and some of the actions that they’ve taken.

“However, there’s just so much more that could be done. There’s still a major lack of communication between us. I totally appreciate that there’s only so much that they can share with us – and it is always going to remain one-sided to a certain extent – but we could help a whole lot more people.”

At the end of January, Omar felt that the number of bikes stolen in Cambridge had gone down. But he has noted a spate since.

Omar Terywall. Picture: Keith Heppell
Omar Terywall. Picture: Keith Heppell

“We’ve noticed that there’s been a lot more higher-end bikes that have been stolen over the past four or five days, and they seem to be more from residential properties than out in public.”

Omar adds that, according to his records, in the five days prior to Tuesday February 2, five bikes were stolen in Trumpington, compared to four in the city centre, while two apiece were stolen in Chesterton, the cycle park at the station and Abbey.

Cambridge railway station remains a bit of a ‘hotspot’ it seems.

“There’s still some from the station,” says Omar, “but not the overwhelming majority as it has been in the past.”

Read more

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Interactive Cambridge bike theft map 2020: How 95% of cases end with no suspect identified

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