Tourist’s beloved motorcycle stolen

Justin Brake
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Molly Nelson’s bike, which has been stolen. — Submitted photo

Molly Nelson parked her motorcycle outside the Blockbuster Video on Ropewalk Lane in St. John’s around 8 p.m. Monday, thinking she’d just be gone for a little bit and could see the bike through the window.

“I don’t even take the keys out of the ignition back home in Maine, so why would I do it in Newfoundland?” she said.

But within 15 minutes to a half hour, someone had taken off on the 2009 Yamaha TW 200, with the 47-year-old American visitor’s belongings locked in the boxes at the back.

Nelson reported the incident to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC), and on Tuesday appealed to the public on local radio and TV for help recovering her bike.

Then, early Tuesday evening, she received a call from the RNC. Two police officers brought her to a house on Froude Avenue, less than a kilometre from where the incident happened. She identified the bike, which had been stripped of its licence plate, storage boxes and hand guards and was chained to a fence outside the home.

A conversation ensued with a man who was in the house, she said.

“He was very belligerent and I think he denied having anything to do with that bike.”

The police did not have probable cause to search the home for the other stolen goods, Nelson explained, because the bike was outside the house.

“The guy obviously has my gear, but the police aren’t allowed to go in there,” she said.

Police also could not recover the bike at the time, according to Nelson, because they had to return with the proper equipment to transport it for forensics.

“He knows what he’s doing. Once the police come and get the bike ... and once they leave the scene, the guy could surely just give (the stolen goods) to a friend or just get out of his house,” she said.

A farmer from Cornish, Me., Nelson first visited the province with her best friend when they were 18.

“We hitchhiked to Newfoundland because we heard it was a great place, and we wanted to see it in the wintertime and meet the people,” she recalled.

Ten years ago she returned with her husband and two young daughters and toured the island for six weeks in the fall.

“We met a lot of people and had a great time,” she said.

For the past two years she worked a second job to save money and, with the encouragement of her family and friends, prepared for her “big adventure” — a six-week trip around the Maritimes, back to Newfoundland, across to Labrador and down to Quebec.

She was only two weeks into the trip when the bike was stolen, an incident that might leave some people bitter and discouraged.

But Nelson returned to Newfoundland, she said, because of “how open and kind the people are … and how trusting and wholesome to talk to. And (they) have a great sense of humour. It just kind of gives you hope that there’s still cultures out there within reach of motorcycle distance that have their act together and haven’t lost their values and whatnot.”

The incident “doesn’t represent Newfoundland at all,” she said. “There’s no animosity toward the people who took it. I just feel almost compassionate, like, come on, why would you do something like that?”

After media attention Tuesday, Nelson received calls of support from locals, including one “from a chiropractor saying he would do chiropractic work on me for nothing,” she chuckled. 

“And another nice guy that said I could stay with him and his wife and his two kids.”

Once she gets the bike back Nelson still has to resolve the key, licence plate and saddle issues.

“Labrador’s not an option anymore,” she said. “I’ll probably still go across Newfoundland, but I don’t have the equipment anymore that I need.”

The RNC was unable to comment on the case as the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about the theft can contact the RNC at 729-8333.

Organizations: RNC, Blockbuster Video on Ropewalk Lane

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Maine, Froude Avenue Cornish, Me.

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Recent comments

  • Alischia Wilcox
    August 22, 2011 - 10:58

    Wow..didn.t even care to investigate? I don't think your province will see any of my friends up there! Did your investigators get their training from a face-book course? I think having stolen items chained to a private fence warrants probable cause. unless the guy keeps the crooked cops supplied with dope or something.

  • California Pete
    August 18, 2011 - 12:16

    Hi there UR A BUNCH OF I did not know this was an open forum for discussion California Pete is from the rock NFLD not NL which stands for Nether Land (Holland) Where is Nasty Nate. Help help me NN

    • RNewfoundland
      April 13, 2012 - 12:58

      In 2001, the province of Newfoundland was officially renamed Newfoundland and Labrador. Note that N.L. is now the abbreviation for Newfoundland and Labrador (replacing Nfld.) and NL is the Canada Post symbol for that province.

  • Concerned
    August 18, 2011 - 12:00

    I am the only one to think that "ethan frome" comment "I hate it when other peoples vehicles show up and chain themselves to my fence, couldn't this woman train her motorcycle a little better?".......Is just out to lunch?

  • mike
    August 18, 2011 - 00:20

    a local motorcycle forum as well as the local Goldwing crew and Honda dealer have banded together to help raise traveling funds and gear to help her on her way

  • k
    August 17, 2011 - 19:58

    Well,Well,Well,No offence to the "GOOD"people of Froude Ave.,but to the lowlifes that live there as well as Pond View Ct., St. Theresa's Ct., Anthony Ave.- I could go on &on, but you know who i'm talking about.We pay you very two weeks to sit on your a** & not contribute to society, & then you turn around & steal from the hand that feeds you!! I suppose your not completely to blame since Social Services has no "checks & balances". But let me say this- If you choose to steal from ME ,after I work & pay for your laziness, well then---------!!!!

  • Bob Ster
    August 17, 2011 - 19:39

    Another fine example of why news web sites should stick to that rather than becoming soap boxes for the ignorant. Do your advertisers pay per clickthrough or just per image load?

  • Doug. Rowe
    August 17, 2011 - 17:49

    How sweet it is ,that people in 2011 still believe that it is safe to leave the keys in the ignition on the streets of NL. In the late 60s, the late Richard Needham, Toronto Columnist, led a group of Toronto teens on a pilgrimage to Nfld. I remember his reassurance to their parents, and here I may be paraphrasing, 'A young female virgin could walk 'naked' across Nfld. and not have to fear molestation' It is sad to say, but I guess NL has changed a lot from the place I left behind some forty years ago!!!

    • RNewfoundland
      April 13, 2012 - 13:04

      40 years ago there were more secrets and cover ups, now people have a bigger voice and more support.

  • David
    August 17, 2011 - 17:43

    The tourism ads are a crock of dung, but they do work. She thought she was visiting the quaint, yester-year, mythical Newfoundland....well guess what? That place doesn't exist, it hasn'tt existed for 40 years, and people here are more likely to steal that bike than if she was in Toronto.

  • seanoairborne
    August 17, 2011 - 17:08

    She should have told the officers that there was a gun in her saddle bag.You can bet your sweet bippy they would have surrounded the house and forced this dirtbag to surrender.OOOOps!sorry,I told a fib about a gun to make you do your jobs!

    • zero
      August 20, 2011 - 05:47

      Yea! That is the RIGHT ANSWER!!!! Unless they then do there jobs completely and ask for the registration for the firearm and then for your concealed weapons permit.....

  • Dan Wolfe
    August 17, 2011 - 15:59

    Let's all use our heads in the future and make it unprofitable to be a thief. We have the technology to get an instant alert the second anyone messes with our stuff and if they do still get away we can track them anywhere and catch these SOB thieves. I use a DeWalt MobileLock on my bike, my car and several other important toys that thieves are looking for. DeWalt MobileLock has been effective enough that it it attributed with over 2400 felony arrests. I got mine at

  • Ed
    August 17, 2011 - 15:30

    How terrible. I do believe that she should not have left her keys BUT her bike should not have been stolen. I don't care if she even left it running there is no excuse for the theft of another persons property. Also, you people who are complaining about the RNC. Grow up. Maybe they are not perfect, and there may well be a few officers there who should not be BUT most all of the RNC staff are good people trying to do, what is at times, a very difficult job. I expect when you have a problem you are only too happy to call 911 and see them show up.

  • Nick
    August 17, 2011 - 14:18

    From the fort and Typical newfies; You are both TOOLS!

    • RNewfoundland
      April 13, 2012 - 13:09

      Your a really nice person, thanks for being simply the best commenter in all of the land. Keep on being jolly ol saint Nick, heres a nickname for you and your time here on earth.... " "

  • Biker myself
    August 17, 2011 - 14:05

    The fact the bike was returned to her within 24 hours says a lot about the people who live here. As a rider myself, I would never leave a bike parked with keys in the ignition. I am from the state of Maine myself, and I would never leave anything left unlocked there either This has nothing to do with Newfoundland or Maine, it is just common sense. There are opportunists and dishonest people everywhere.

  • mainlander
    August 17, 2011 - 13:46

    Just another example of how we have a legal system, not a justice system. Crooks and criminals are protected and victims are not. Disgusting. Here's a tip for the low life scum who make a living through crime, selling drugs, stealing from others, etc - get a real job and make an honest living like the rest of us. You'll be a lot happier and a lot better off.

  • California Pete
    August 17, 2011 - 12:49

    Remove the key and the steerig wil lock in the left pocition how lacy can one be but to bad I hope it is a lesson from now on. Hope the bike is found and not stiped of its goodys

    • ur a bunch of......
      August 17, 2011 - 13:55

      @ California Pete/ From the Fort/ and Typical newfies.... You people need to open your eyes... do you think newfies are the only ones stealing in the fort? I doubt it... also all of this world has its "bad apples" so saying typical newfies is a little much, we are hard working and in general most are honest good people, what if we said the same about where your from? dirty theives and liars you bunch are... dont dump all people in the one pile, didnt your mother teach you that? adn mr. california pete, maybe you should learn to read... This woman will have more donations and offers of help from the Good people of newfoundland then what she will know what to do with....

  • Typical Newfies
    August 17, 2011 - 12:45

    Typical newfie behavior. Nice people come from abroad and see how two faced the province is. The Premier didn't even finish high school I hear.

  • John
    August 17, 2011 - 12:43

    I feel bad for this tourist but it was mainly her fault for leaving the keys in the ignition.Lesson learned I hope. There are always opportunistic criminals looking to steal and cheat people, but one way to avoid it is to make sure you take all precautions necessary to protect your family and property. Crime is everywhere including little old St.John's.Utopia is dead.

  • Rich
    August 17, 2011 - 12:40

    Maybe you should list the items that were stolen for all to see. Would probably make them a little harder to sell. And it might make it easier for people to help you fulfill your dream ride by possibly donating some of these much needed items that may be just laying around to complete your trip. Just a thought...

  • from the fort
    August 17, 2011 - 12:29

    must be the same bunch of newfies that come to fort mcmurray stealing...keep them there!

    • stuck in the fort
      August 18, 2011 - 00:16

      Maybe you should consider you wouldn't have a job if you didn't have all those "stealing Newfies" to keep your pollution spewing oil sands running for the last 30 years. Not one of the problem people I've encountered here has been from Newfoundland, why don't you pick on a minority: working closer to home white trash

  • Earl
    August 17, 2011 - 11:32

    So does this mean if a stolen car is found in my driveway, but the contents are missing, the police don't have probable cause to search my house?

  • Matt
    August 17, 2011 - 11:29

    I hope you get all your stuff back Miss this place is getting out of hand and the RNC should of did more but thats the good old RNC for ya but anyways BIKE SHOPS AROUND TOWN SHOULD BAND TOGETHER AND DONATE STUFF TO HER IT"S A RIGHT OFF GUYS AND IT"S GOOD PR FOR YOU SO I PUT THE CHALLENGE TO ALL THE BIKER SHOPS TO HELP THIS POOR LADY OUT AND SHOW HER WEW ARE BETTER THEN THAT AND WE ARE THE MOST GIVING PEOPLE OUT THERE and I hope these low lifes after births get whats coming to them .We wish you all the best Molly hope you come back

  • Cheryl
    August 17, 2011 - 11:18

    I'm so glad that she has her bike back. I agree with one of the previous comments that we should start a collection so that this lady can continue on her way and continue to enjoy our great province. I would like her to know that 99% of the people in our province would take the shirt off their own backs and give it to her. To the thugs that took her stuff...Man UP...give it back!!!

  • Santo
    August 17, 2011 - 11:15

    I find it rather amusing that the "thief" chained up the stolen bike. I like another posters idea. Every biker in St. John's and surrounding areas should visit this guy. You know, just to say hi. Get familar with the place. So they'll know when to go the next time a bike is stolen. I wonder does this theif know about all this attention...? Probably not. People make comments on "welfare" or "housing". But the bottem line boils down to self respect, and self worth. Thieves don't seem to have these qualities. Maybe it's a genic mutation. This thief has customers, friends, and family. Someone among those people has to have an ounce of dignity. Return the ladies belongings. Do the right thing.

  • moe
    August 17, 2011 - 10:03

    Ppffttt! Froude Ave., what a surprise! I am so sick of the NL housing crowd in this city. Lazy god-for-nothings collecting social assistance making a fortune through criminal means on the side. Why did the Govt., ever decide to put social house all throughout the city? I guess they wanted to spread out the crime evenly for all to share.

    • MF
      August 17, 2011 - 10:30

      I was told years ago they spread them out so there is less trouble. I say put them in one place with only one way in and out. Put 1 patrol car at the entrance and see how much stolen property they bring home. The RNC know the troublemakers.Maybe they will steal from each other and they will find out how it feels.

    • Uhhuh By'e
      August 17, 2011 - 11:24

      One major reason it makes sense to spread social housing throughout the city is prevent the "ghettoization" of a single particular area of town. By putting Children of people who living in these house among other residents it prevents them from being blinded by their surroundings. If ALL you see everyday is everyone in your neighborhood sitting around waiting for a welfare cheque than that becomes what they expect for their lives. Not everyone one lives in these residents are "lazy" or "god-for-nothings" [sic]. Even if there are a few douchebags.

    • nl housing tenant
      August 17, 2011 - 12:39

      not everyone that lives in nl housing are lazy good for nothings, collecting social assistance and making a fortune through criminal means I am a single parent with a job living in housing providing for me and my kids its ppl like you that make it bad for others, that just cause one person does something you blame it on everyone

    • MizBiker
      August 17, 2011 - 12:58

      Living in housing does NOT mean you are a drug addict or you get your money from the government while making a fortune off of criminal means. I've been living in housing for 4 years now and I WORK hard to keep the roof over my head. If it wasn't for housing I wouldnt be able to afford to have a home and pay my bills. I'm very thankfull for having housing to live in!!!!!

  • Paul
    August 17, 2011 - 09:48

    I really feel bad for the decent people that live in the neighbourhood mentioned in the comments ! There is always a couple of indivduals that spoil these neighbourhoods ! The trouble makers should be evicted and givin a large rock to crawl under ! They are a drain on the sytem !

  • BikerTom
    August 17, 2011 - 09:45

    Come on Telegram! If the bike was still there chained outside this house why not take a photo for us all to see because it would have been a public domain scene and no privacy laws infringed. That would have been a good service to the public. I think City Council should get involved. Looks bad.

    • MD
      August 17, 2011 - 10:47

      If the Telegram publishes a photo with a hint he stole the bike, he would get a lawyer, paid by the taxpayer of course, and sue for defamation of character. Because of our justice system, and the Druken case, RNC need an abundance of evidence to do anything. Look at the Pynn case. He says he is innocent. Somebody had to shoot the weapon. Give this guy 5 years for stealing the bike and 4 years later somebody will probably admit the theft, after getting promised a few $$$$ of course. Then there will be another settlement. The crooks deny everything. They know the RNC doesn't want to spend time and money in court when the judge lets them go.

  • stan
    August 17, 2011 - 09:32

    keystone cops the only name that fits

  • Bibbie from NL
    August 17, 2011 - 09:29

    The person who took this bike knew the rider was a tourist and knew she/he would be stranded. What a SOB who did this. I'm glad she doesn't think all of us here are thives and liars. Now, I don't live near Froude Ave or know anyone who do live there but I am sure that all the people that do live there are not crooks and liars. Don't paint them all with the same brush. This person made them look bad too and if were his neighbours I would get together and help this tourist. I think someone should arrange a collection so we can all help and get this woman back on the road and don't let her holiday be tarnished by one idiot.

  • proud townie
    August 17, 2011 - 09:25

    When I heard her on open line I thought Froude Ave, stab court or waltons mountain. Go search these welfare zones and you'll find it. I wonder what kind of drugs this loser bought with her belongings. I hope she gets it all back but I's say it's long gone. It's chained to my step but I know nothing about it. What a LOSER..........

  • MR
    August 17, 2011 - 09:16

    If the RNC can't do anything, I wonder how co-operative the guy would be if 50 bikers showed up in front of his house. For people that say she deserved it because she left the key in the ignition, does that mean when you put the garbage out, I can walk in the open door and take what I want while you are out for 30 seconds?? If you want something, work for it.

    • ethan frome
      August 17, 2011 - 10:01

      I hate it when other peoples vehicles show up and chain themselves to my fence, couldn't this woman train her motorcycle a little better?

  • Robb
    August 17, 2011 - 09:09

    Oh Molly....I am so sad to hear stories like this, and there is always a few opportunistic idiots out there who are lower than a pregnant ant. I hope the idiots come to there senses and do the right thing. Certainly a number of years ago you could leave your keys in a car or bike and no one would touch though I would not leave my keys because of these same opportunistic low life ***holes. So I am definately not saying you should have not left your keys, I am applauding your trust in the great people of this wonderful province, and most are great. Best of luck to you, and I am sure you will receive lots of offers of help, and I would be on that list. Hope you get a chance to see as much of the province as you can......Labrador on a later too, is one of the most fascinating places on the planet.

  • wayne
    August 17, 2011 - 08:13

    I bet that the Froude Ave housing projects was the first place the police looked. I bet they even had a good idea of what house to go to. The local bike dealers should be able to fix up her ignition switch for her....and if they want some really good PR , set her up with some new saddlebags. Our province USED to be a great place , but now St. John's is no safer than Toronto.

    • MR
      August 17, 2011 - 09:19

      If a dealer helps her out, I am sure his business will increase. St. John's, and a lot of NL really, are worse than TO. Most crime is not reported in the news.

  • Jeremiah
    August 17, 2011 - 07:56

    This sob makes us all look bad annd the justice system is more into protecting the rights of the bad guys instead of their victims. Oh my!

  • Jean
    August 17, 2011 - 07:47

    So sorry to hear about your stolen bike...Sure, Newfoundlanders are really nice people in general...but there are always some that are just plain bad...unfortunately you encountered one...I would be mad as heck at them! I'm sure there will be lots of comments about "her own fault, left the keys in the bike". Ignore them...When someting isn't yours, there is no excuse to take it! I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in our great province!

  • chris
    August 17, 2011 - 07:37

    So if this was a car stolen instead with several guns that were kept in the back trunk and are now not in the trunk, you mean to tell me that the police would not be entering the house with some little justified excuse.

  • Paul
    August 17, 2011 - 07:10

    I'm glad to hear that Molly has her bike back ! I hope the people responsible have a change of heart and give back her personal belongings .

  • BR
    August 17, 2011 - 07:10

    Leave an officer at the scene til the RNC come back with the right equipment so he doesn't pass off her stuff. This is Froude Ave. RNC knows the area. Somebody saw something but I doubt if the neighbours will co-operate. The bike is outside so they can't search the house???? I can't believe the RNC can't find a reason to do a search, and if they do find something, some arrogant lawyer will argue illegal search.

  • Bonnie Armstrong
    August 17, 2011 - 07:06

    What an awful story! The thief should be ashamed...I have to wonder why the police didn't have someone to watch the bike while they went back to get "proper" equipment. Hopefully the Newfoundlanders that Molly has heard about will step up and help her out in recovering her items. She certainly has a wonderful attitude about it all. I wish her all the best, things can only get better!

  • macky
    August 17, 2011 - 06:58

    The police do strange things at times. A number of years ago I had a break in at my house. A couple of weeks later I received a call from RNC saying that they stopped a car and during their search they found my camera (my name was on it) in his trunk. The guy said his friend gave it to him. The police did not check with his friend to verify his story and they didn't charge him with possession of stolen property. Go figure !!!!

    • jennifer
      August 17, 2011 - 17:27

      I had the same kind of situation my house was broken into, about a month later I was at traders and by luck I saw my computer screen their for sale, the one that was stolen from me. So the cops got the guy that sold it to traders information, and they tracked him down and asked him about it and he said he bought it from one of his friends and after he bought it he realized it was not working so he sold it to traders lol. End of stroy no more investigation than that. What a load of bull. They asked what his friends name was and he said I don't