A BIKE bandit is on the loose in Wagga with numerous reports of bicycle thefts from all across the city in recent days.
With thefts reported in Mount Austin and central Wagga to as far out as Forest Hill, some have been lucky enough to have their bikes returned, but others are still left a pair of wheels short.
One family in central Wagga woke on Wednesday morning to find two of their bikes missing.
The owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said the grey bicycles were kept in their backyard overnight so the thieves had to have entered their property.
"I actually had another bike of mine stolen last year from outside the Oasis pool, and that was even locked up with a chain," he said.
"I will only ever buy cheap bikes now because you just can't seem to have anything nice anymore without getting it stolen."
The incident was reported to police who are investigating the theft, but anyone who may have seen two grey bikes, one of which showing 'Giant' branding, is urged to contact Wagga Police Station on 6922 2599.
In a separate incident on the same night of January 19, a man's bike was stolen from his garage in Forest Hill about 9pm.
The owners took to social media, calling on anyone with security footage from the Melaleuca Drive and Mangrove Crescent areas to check for suspicious activity in an effort to find what they described as a 'brand new bike' given to the man as a Christmas gift.
Police are investigating.
Earlier on January 16, a Mount Austin family was struck by thieves, with a young boy's bike stolen from the home's backyard overnight.
The incident was reported to police, but thanks to the keen eye of the owner, they spotted a bike matching the description of that which was stolen up for sale on social media.
Police were able to find the bike and return it to its lawful owner, with inquiries continuing regarding the theft.
Others have since been reported, including one from Meadow Street in Kooringal on January 20, and one as recently as yesterday from Barrima Drive, Glenfield Park.
The owners of the bike, Donna and Garry, who wished to keep their surnames anonymous, said the crime occurred in broad daylight when people were home.
"I went to visit my sister in hospital on Saturday afternoon for about 20 minutes, and when I came back, it was gone from inside the garage," Garry said.
Donna added that she and her father were inside at the time, but the noise of the fan meant they didn't hear the intruder.
"We spoke to the neighbours and they didn't see anything, but the police are looking into it for us," she said.
While the theft of the bike itself was disappointing, Donna said it was also the principle that didn't sit right with her.
"We've been here for nearly two years and have never had a problem," she said.
"Once upon a time you trusted your neighbourhood, but not any more. It seems to be getting worse and worse too."
In other news:
"The festive season is an opportunistic time for thieves, with families leaving their homes unattended," they stated.
"Whether you're packing up to head away from the holidays or you're a visitor to the region staying in a holiday house or camp site, please make sure all your safety measures are in place.
"Please make sure that homes are locked and secure, that security systems, doors, windows, alarms and lights are properly installed and activated. Keep all valuables out of clear view and bring them inside overnight."
If anyone sees any suspicious activity, or suspect they have come across stolen goods either online or in person, contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.