Joe Coccagna, left, is raising money for Fritz, who had his bike stolen in 2018. Coccagna unknowingly bought the bike from Facebook marketplace, and the two met recently while he was out on a ride through Fernwood. (Photo contributed by Joe Coccagna)

VIDEO: Victoria man’s stolen bike pedals full circle

Man unknowingly buys stolen bike, starts fundraiser for new one

A Victoria man is flipping the script on an unusual story of a stolen bike.

Joe Coccagna was out on an pedal around Fernwood, when he had a chance encounter with a man named Fritz.

“I stopped with my bike outside where Fritz worked, and he kind of looked at me funny, and did a second look at the bike,” said Coccagna. “Then he came up and asked me a few questions, and we realized that the bike actually used to be his, but it was stolen in 2018.”

RELATED: Popular octopus art stolen from Colwood neighbourhood

Coccagna, who recently moved to Victoria to study, said he bought the bike from Facebook marketplace from another person, who he doesn’t believe stole the bike either.

“I think the bike must have had a couple different owners before it reached me,” said Coccagna.

Feeling bothered by what had happened to Fritz, Coccagna wanted to do something to help; he decided to start a fundraiser to buy Fritz a new bike.

“I wanted to try and find a solution where everyone was happy, so no one would have to lose,” said Coccagna. “I’ve only been here for a short time, but I have a bit of a social network, and I have my network back home in Ontario, so I thought I could do my best to come up with a new bike for him.”

Coccagna put together a few videos to help promote the fundraiser that runs until the end of July. Half of the proceeds will go towards the Black Health Alliance.

“Fritz is studying to be a paramedic, and he is wired to help others. I think he was a bit uncomfortable with having someone do this for him, so he asked to have half of the money donated to a local cause,” Coccagna said.

RELATED: Gnome stolen from Langford home was a gift for completing chemotherapy

Black Health Alliance is a charity that helps to improve the health and well-being of Black communities in Canada, focusing on building connected communities, anti-racism, and healthy inequalities.

“Over the past couple of months it’s been incredible to see communities rally for those in need. It’s brought out the best in ourselves and our communities,” Coccagna stated on the fundraiser page.

For more information visit fundrazr.com/blitzforfritz.

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