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Police issue warning about bike-accident scam
The Abbotsford Police Department is warning the public about a cyclist who alleges he has been hit by vehicles and then tries to scam money out of the drivers who are supposedly at fault.
Const. Ian MacDonald said police are investigating three such incidents involving the man, who also has nine claims with ICBC involving the same circumstances.
The 58-year-old man cannot be named, because charges have not yet been laid against him. But MacDonald said police believe there could be many other unreported incidents involving the culprit.
He said it is hard to believe that drivers could have been responsible for at least 12 separate incidents involving the same cyclist.
"He is either staging (the crashes) or he is the statistically impossible victim of all these collisions involving vehicles," MacDonald said.
He said a typical scenario involves a driver leaving a parking lot when the cyclist seems to appear from nowhere, screaming and with his bike on the ground.
He then claims to have been hit by the vehicle and demands that the driver pay him cash or he will report the incident.
The drivers have claimed they did not hit the cyclist, but MacDonald said fraud charges have been difficult to prove against the man because the victims typically haven't had witnesses to support their version of events.
He said the man has about 90 "negative interactions" with police on file, mainly as the subject of fraud complaints. These include allegations that he has sold advertising in a magazine that doesn't exist or that he has harassed people who refuse to pay.
MacDonald said in the cycling scam the man seems to be targeting women drivers over the age of 50 who are alone in their cars.
He suggests that anyone who encounters the man get contact information immediately from witnesses at the scene and report the incident to police (604-859-5225), as well as to ICBC.