Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Stolen bike surfaces at binners market

The Downtown Eastside Street Market is known as the “Binners market” because of all the recycled or found items for sale — but some say that many of the items at the market are stolen goods.
binner.jpg
An East Side resident whose bike was stolen from her garage on a Saturday in December found it a day later for sale at the weekly binners market in Gastown. She called police when the seller asked her to prove it belonged to her. Photo: Rebecca Blissett.

The Downtown Eastside Street Market is known as the “Binners market” because of all the recycled or found items for sale — but some say that many of the items at the market are stolen goods.

In an email to the Courier, Hastings-Sunrise resident Lynda Stokes said she found her bicycle at the market on Hastings and Carrall Street on Dec. 15, the day after it was stolen from inside her garage.

Stokes called the police when the person selling the bicycle asked her to prove it belonged to her. She has since submitted proof to the VPD that the bicycle is hers. Stokes believes many of the items for sale at the market were previously stolen.

“I find it appalling that many if not most of the people attending this market suspect they are browsing stolen merchandise and they just don’t care,” Stokes said via email “Unlike my bike, which has a serial number and some identifiable features, there are a lot of small items being sold down there like tools and household goods that are impossible to trace.”

Jessica Enes and Philip Dias, who live near the market and were visiting it for the first time on Sunday, Dec. 29, said they had no idea where the items in the market came from, and believed that some might have been previously stolen.

Roland Clarke, coordinator for the market, said stolen items do occasionally make it into the market.

“Is it impossible for stolen goods to make it into our market? Of course not,” said Clarke. “It’s an open-air market where there are a lot of cash sales. It’s not an indoor area so we can’t control who comes in and out, so it’s actually very difficult for us to fully police the activity there.”

Clarke said the market makes it clear to all vendors that stolen items are not permitted. Volunteers keep a watch on activities in the market, and they also rely on the presence of the Vancouver Police Department.

VPD spokesperson Randy Fincham said officers often visit the market and will confront vendors who are suspected of selling stolen items.“It’s important to know that not all the items that are there are stolen … but there are vendors in the past that have been selling stolen property,” said Fincham. He said the growth of the market leads to the potential for an increase in stolen goods for sale. The VPD will keep an eye on it, he said.

The market received a $30,000 grant from the City of Vancouver in the beginning of 2013 to help the market gain more volunteers (who are given a stipend of $3.50 an hour) to maintain order in the
market.

Clarke said the market gives Downtown Eastside residents a legal place to sell their items, and said increased resources would help the market maintain its rules.

“There’s less illegal activity at our market than there would be up and down Hastings on a sidewalk. And there’s a hope that we can actually separate the legal from illegal activity, which is why we’re really strong proponents of the market.”


info@gavinfisher.ca
twitter.com/fisher_gavin