At Toronto Police's 9 Hanna garage, where upwards of 1,500 apparently stolen bikes await reunions with their owners, the force basks in the glory of a job well done after shutting down the notorious bike shop on Queen across from Trinity Bellwoods Park.
The problem is, it took over a decade to bust an allegedly major actor in bicycle theft, Igor Kenk, aka the bike guy, on Queen West.
He faces 60 charges including theft and possession of stolen property, and only a court of law will decide what sticks, but the rumour mill has always pointed to Kenk's Bicycle Clinic as a place to check if your ride got snatched.
The merchant was often seen standing outside assessing bikes in varying states of disrepair, with wrench men nearby. His shop was adorned with cranks, chains and forks that once belonged to - well, who knows?
"For the last 15 years I've heard people say, ‘My bike's lost - oh, I'll check Igor's,' " says Wayne Scott, bike courier and founder of Toronto Hoof and Cycle Courier Coalition.
Says Toronto Cyclists Union spokesperson Yvonne Bambrick, "I don't think there was an option for police except to rise up and do something.''
If police's strategy to deal with suspected thieves is to lull them into a decade's worth of security and then swoop in for the big kill, a lot of toddlers will find their tricycles a little small by the time they're reunited with old property.
"It took them way too long to do anything," says Advocacy for Respect for Cyclist's Darren Stehr, who suggests missing bikes aren't a police priority. "We know what they do with cars - they go all out,'' he says.
Scott figures the perception that police don't care much about bike filching lowers everyone's estimation of the cycling option. "People just take it as a matter of course that bikes just get stolen, that they're really just toys and not a major part of transportation," he says.
Standing in front of hundreds of bikes ranging from rusty beaters to race machines, Inspector Bryce Evans admits it's not easy laying charges on someone like Kenk.
"He's in a position that receivs property. We can't prove that he knew the property was in fact stolen because he has obligations under his pawn licence to fill out the paper work and all that."
When community response officers nabbed him and alleged he was instructing a cohort on breaking a lock (ironically, they didn't go for an unlocked police bait bike nearby), Evans says they got a bonus.
Evans adds that the surprising amount of attention given tor Kenk's arrest led to calls from storage locations holding hundreds of rides.
"By Friday, the public will be able to go to 35 Strachan to claim bikes," says 14 Division Superintendent Ruth White. "They'll need to provide ownership info, a serial number or even a photo of them with the bike."
"It snowballed," says Evans. "We're still seizing bikes as we speak" - a hundred here and thousand there. Fifty-five owners have already claimed their vehicles.
He says claiming stolen bikes would be easier if owners would register their wheels in the first place on the police's website.
"All we can do is ask for bail conditions, especially with Igor. We can ask the courts that he no longer be able to possess bicycles, but a judge might say it ain't going to happen."
Bambrick appreciates the seeming increase of police attention to bike crimes, but she's hoping for a different kind of registering process - a civilian one, perhaps coordinated by the bike union.
"Some people might be hesitant to be in a police database," she says.
Scott is also hopeful the Kenk bust marks a turning point for cycling and proper policing of bike theft. "Urban transportation is being looked at differently now. [Bikes] are more important, and the population of Toronto is pushing it."
Stehr is more skeptical.
"There's all sorts of thieves out there - you have to cut down demand [for stolen bikes]. You have to give cyclists good places to lock," he says, adding that years have passes since ring posts were identified as vulnerable to leverage breakage using a two-by-four.
"Igor's just providing a distraction for now," says Stehr, who'll wait and see if the pressure spreads to other pawn shops selling stolen bikes, or if this investigation is like other bike victories - just a fluke.