It was not the “welcome to Canada” moment that Mahshid Hadi was expecting.
The 27-year-old moved to Coqutilam from Turkey in December and the very first time she locked her bike in downtown Vancouver it was stolen.
“I didn’t bring any clothes with me – I just carried my bike with me,” Hadi said, explaining that her bike took up most of her 23-kilogram suitcase during the journey to Canada.
Originally from Iran, Hadi was a refugee in Turkey for more than four years.
Working as an ELS teacher, she said it took two years to save up enough money to buy the bike. Hadi said she would ride from one poor community to another – teaching kids how to ride it.
“This bike meant a lot to me because it carried so many stories with it,” Hadi said.
On Saturday, Feb. 23, Hadi had locked her bike on Homer Street in front of Westside Church, where she was volunteering at a film festival. When she came out it was gone.
“I was thinking, the world is gone from in front of my eyes,” Hadi said.
One security camera in the area recorded the moment two thieves approach her bike. According to the video, at 8:24 p.m. a man appears to cut her bike lock and ride away.
Another woman seen in the video follows the thief using a different bike.
“Bike thefts continue to be an issue in Vancouver and other cities around British Columbia,” explained Const. Jason Doucette with Vancouver Police.
Doucette said more than 2,000 bikes were stolen in the city in 2018.
Vancouver police recommend owners record the serial number on their bike, take a photo of the bike, and also take a photo of them with the bike.
“We recover many bikes that are stolen and we can’t link back to an owner and they end up going to auction and we don’t want to do that,” Doucette explained.
Meanwhile, Hadi is holding out hope someone will read her story and find it in their heart to return the bike.
Her message to the thief is, “This bike is much more than what you may think or imagine. It affects my life, it affects my future opportunities. I would like this bike back.”