Proactive policing puts a stick in auction’s spokes

Proactive policing puts a stick in auction’s spokes
After spinning his wheels hunting for a new bicycle

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – Many bidders looking to buy new wheels at the annual police auction were left disappointed, thanks to the success of a free bicycle registration program.

The Cornwall Community Police Service (CCPS) event drew in about 225 eager buyers to the Cornwall Armoury on Saturday (April 18).

Property Officer Danielle Lauzon said the auction typically raises over $5,000 and noted that this edition offered more jewelry and tools.

Auctioneer Theresa Taylor recalled it was only a few years ago when the event boasted on average 120 bicycles.

North Lancaster’s Ewen Thompson was there to find a racing bike and anything else cheap that caught his eye.

“I’m seeing lots of stuff. Looking at the new drills. I saw a couple of old coins,” said Thompson. “But not what I was hoping for in the bike department.”

Lauzon said: “Either the owners aren’t located, or there’s cases where things are done in court and there’s no owner, anything that’s left behind and nobody’s claimed it.”

The origins of the 153 items sprawled across rows of eight-foot tables and lining half of the large drill hall are mostly unknown. According to Lauzon, they’re kept for a minimum of 90 days before hitting the auction block.

CCPS Staff Sgt. Pierre Pilon said: ‘Lock it or Loose it’ is one our biggest slogans – maybe people are picking up on it and are locking their bikes.”

He agreed with Lauzon that the in-person bicycle registry CCPS offers the public for free, and more recently the online process, has helped in a reduction of bike thefts and an increase in returns to owners when they’re lost, stolen or left abandoned.

The auction has been running for roughly 25 years and previously took place at what many Cornwallites now consider a nostalgic stomping ground.

“We used to do it at the Bob Turner on the ice and people would sit out in the stands,” said Lauzon. “Here they get to come on the floor and actually look at the stuff.”

The six-member CCPS board will decide where the funds raised at the auction will be spent.

“It may be distributed to worthy causes or charity,” said Pilon. “Some money is diverted after a request is made – community groups make applications. And the board may keep some of the money for their operations.”

Throughout the event, some bidders (and would-be bidders) were forced to brave slight bouts of rain as they waited in the long line coiling down the armoury parking lot. Due to security issues everyone was required to show a piece of photo identification and sign-in and out of the building with a service officer present.

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