Michael Le Rossignol, a professional cyclist whose bike was stolen when he ducked into a supermarket to buy bananas, is upset that he had to fork over $400 to get it back from a used bike shop.
Le Rossignol stopped at the IGA grocery store in St-Henri in early September and brought his bike inside, carefully placing it in the view of a security camera.
Within 30 seconds, his brand new, $5,000 bike was gone.
He told CBC Daybreak on Wednesday that he asked the store manager to see the security tape, but was told no such thing would happen without a police report.
“I was extremely discouraged,” Le Rossignol said.
He filed a police report and scoured websites like Kijiji and Facebook for possible leads on the bike.
A cyclist he didn’t even know eventually sent him a note, saying he’d seen it at Recycle-Cycle, a used bike shop in NDG on De Maisonneuve Boulevard.
The out-of-town Le Rossignol sent his father to scope the store out. The asking price: $1,500.
Le Rossignol rushed over with police after returning to Montreal and informed shop owner Dominic Paquet the bike was, in fact, his.
He said he knew the bike was stolen, Paquet knew the bike was stolen and the police knew the bike was stolen — the matching serial number proved that.
However, “The police didn’t know how to proceed,” Le Rossignol told Daybreak host Mike Finnerty.
The officer spent about 20 minutes on the phone, he said, before hanging up and telling him, “The law is not in your favour.”
He haggled the buy-back price to $400, down from the $650 Paquet had paid for it.
Too good to be true
In retrospect, Paquet said he probably should have realized that $650 was too good a deal to be true when a man came into his store with the bike looking to sell it. The man told Paquet he needed money to pay his rent.
The bike shop owner proceeded as usual, filling out a purchase report and sending it to police. Stores that sell used goods, like pawn shops, are required to do so.
"I don’t think I did anything wrong," Paquet said.
Le Rossignol said he was particularly frustrated by the police officer’s approach on the day he bought his bike back.
He said the officer told him the store owner bought the bike in good faith — something he disagrees with.
He said he was presented with two options: either have the police track down the original thief and then take him to court — something that would take at least a couple of years — or just buy the bike back and call it a day.
Meanwhile, Paquet lost $250 in the debacle.
"Everybody’s a victim in this situation. There’s no winner except the thief," he said.