The life of a Toronto bike thief

Journalist Richard Poplak worked with illustrator Nick Marinkovich and create a graphic novelization of the life of Igor Kenk. Kenk is the notorious Toronto bike peddler who was found with thousands of stolen bikes when police raided his shop, garages and warehouses in 2008.

Igor Kenk Graphic Novel cover

According to this reviewer and Toronto cyclist, everybody knew that Igor Kenk was a thief, but he was also more than just a thief.

I’ve known Igor since I was 18 years old, and truth be told, I found him confusing, likable, maddening, hilarious, charismatic, criminal, and even honourable after his own fashion. The Slovenian entrepreneur and bike-mechanic was a packrat (Kenk implies that he is a pathological hoarder, and I think this fits).

I knew — everybody knew — that Igor was dealing in stolen goods. But Igor seemingly played by the rules: when he bought a bike, he recorded the seller’s name and the bike’s serial number, held the bike for the required period, and if no one came to claim it, he sold it.

But Igor also dealt in enormous volume, and bought bikes from guys who were so sketchy that it strained credulity to believe that they were just keen-eyed pickers who found yard-sale bargains and arbitraged them to Igor for resale. And indeed, in the end, Igor was arrested after he was caught instructing some of these suppliers to take a pair of bolt-cutters and steal a particularly nice bike.

The reviewer says the book humanizes Kenk without apologizing for him. Read more here.

Kenk was released from prison in March 2010 after serving sixteen months.

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