A couple who first met on two wheels are appealing for help to reunite them with their beloved bikes that were stolen from a roof rack in a shopping centre car park.
Michael Munro, 24, and girlfriend Chloe MacLean, 20, called into Ocean Terminal and parked their car at 5pm with two bikes securely fastened and locked to the roof.
Despite parking in an open area close to the centre’s entrance, the Inverness couple were left in disbelief after returning two hours later to find the locks broken, damage to their vehicle and their mountain bikes pinched, totalling £8,000.
Police Scotland confirmed an off-duty officer reported the theft as it was ongoing but on duty officers did not arrive until after the thieves fled the scene.
Apprentice engineer Michael said CCTV footage showed the incident, on March 15, took place at 6.50pm – just ten minutes before the pair returned to their vehicle.
He said: “I parked near the entrance of Ocean Terminal to prevent something like this from happening. Someone doing that has created a scene because the locks should be hard to break. It would be obvious what is happening if someone saw them.
“We were in disbelief. We both worked very hard to buy them and intended on racing this coming April. These bikes mean more than the money they are worth, they have memories attached to them and they are not just a piece of metal.
“They are the two bikes we met each other on. When you get a bike you customise them to make them personal to you. Then some random shopping trip ends with possibly the last time we’ll see them.”
The couple were on a three-day break in the Capital and had been to Innerleith and Knockhill on their mountain bikes. They were due to return to Innerleith the following day but had to give up their £64 tickets and return to Inverness early.
Michael and Chloe have now set up a Facebook page appealing for help in locating their black specialised Rhyme bike and a black, blue and red Orbea Occam. Police say two men were seen removing the bikes secured to a rack before riding off along Ocean Drive on them. They are described as in their late teens and wearing dark clothing.
He said: “I called the police who said there’s a slim chance of getting them back. I saw online that in London only four per cent of stolen bikes are recovered.
“It’s a lot of money to lose in one go and then the bikes also need replacing. If anybody has any information please contact the police or ourselves. We know it is unlikely that they will be found but we want the bikes back very much and will remain positive.”
A police spokesperson said: “Officers are investigating the theft of two mountain bikes from a car in the East car park at Ocean Terminal at around 6.45pm on March 15.
“Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting reference 3174.”
For more details go to www.facebook.com/chloeandmichael