At 89 years old, Agnes Sawchuk doesn't think she should be driving a car anymore. So the elderly resident of Bonnyville, Alta., instead uses a bicycle to run her errands and get around town.
After a long ride in early September, Sawchuk decided to stop at a corner store and buy herself a treat. She's always lived in Bonnyville and she'd never locked her bike before, but when she came back out, she discovered the bicycle had been taken.
She'd just invested in an expensive bike only days before and she was sure she'd never see it again. Regardless, Sawchuk visited the Bonnyville Detachment the next day and reported the theft. After hearing her story, the members at the detachment felt strongly about getting it back to her.
"She just has such as sense of trust in our community and we wanted to restore that for her," says Cst. Laura Carroll, from the Bonnyville Detachment. "A couple of members went to speak to some local youth and they got them to lead us to her bike."
But when the members tracked it down, the bike was dirty and damaged. So before returning it, they cleaned the bike and replaced its broken basket. Victims services also spoke with her about getting a lock for the bike, which she's done.
"The great thing about the RCMP is that we're community police officers," says Carroll. "Yes, we are general duty and we're first responders, but we live and work in the communities that we serve and we want them to feel safe and trust us."
Sawchuk was delighted to get her bike back. She says it's a crucial part of helping her maintain her independence.
"If it wasn't for the bicycle, I wouldn't be able to live in my own home because I have to go buy groceries, I have to do other things and I haven't driven a car for quite a while," says Sawchuk. "And I love to live in my own home; I'm sure glad the RCMP got it back."
Reprinted with permission from the Pony Express (No. 6, 2014).