Brazen' youths pedal off on stolen bikes

By Kristin Edge

A free Children's Day in Whangarei saw three youths take the meaning one step too far when they rode off on bikes from one of the displays.

More than 800 families attended the event at the Pulse in Whangarei and enjoyed sausage sizzles, a bouncy castle and a bike-riding display encouraging children to exercise.

The Bike Northland display was run by coordinator Stu Bell, who said about 200 children had negotiated their way through the obstacle course on bikes before three of the eight bikes were stolen.

"I had my back turned putting a chain on a bike when I turned round to see one of the kids throwing a bike over the fence."

When Mr Bell went to question the boy he turned and rode off with his two young friends about 12.50pm on Sunday. They were thought to be aged between 11 and 13.

Mr Bell said the bikes were blue, black and white and were ABD BMX race bikes - similar to the brand used by Olympic medallist Sarah Walker.

The retail price of the bikes was about $850 each and they were used as part of a Bike Northland programme in intermediate and secondary schools.

Mr Bell said the bikes were better than average and doubted there would be any like them elsewhere in Northland.

"It's just so brazen, done in broad daylight. They just rode away. It's obvious these kids think they are untouchable."

He appealed to anyone who may know where the bikes are or are offered them for sale to contact police.

Police believe the theft may also be linked to another that happened only hours later in Whangarei.

Two bikes outside FCO in Okara Park shopping mall were stolen about 2.15pm.

Police say 20 minutes later the bikes were used as getaway vehicles in a shoplifting incident at the Warehouse in the same complex.

A young girl was seen watching over the two "Repco" brand bikes - one green and one blue - near the Warehouse entrance. It's believed one of the male youths distracted the security guard while another male stole items. They both rode off on the bikes and were not found.

- Northern Advocate

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