- The man police say is behind a major bicycle theft ring in Toronto will be the subject of a documentary and graphic novel written and produced by CBC contributor Richard Poplak.
Kenk, owner of the shop Bicycle Clinic, was arrested and charged in July 2008 with theft, attempted theft, possession of stolen property and possession of burglar tools. Later, police displayed nearly 3,000 bikes that were found across the city, hidden in garages, warehouses and homes.
Poplak, author of The Sheik's Batmobile, told CBC News that he was struck by Kenk's character.
"Once you have met Igor once, he's stuck, he's stuck in your head," Poplak said in an interview Friday.
Poplak became curious about Kenk's roots while writing an article for Toronto Life. The author talked about how the underground punk scene in Slovenia influenced Kenk.
"There was this underground punk type culture … which was very much like one of the hardcore scenes elsewhere in the world. This was sorta the ethos in which made Igor," he said.
"The 80s in Slovenia was a time of unbridled capitalism mixed with hardcore socialism and that is exactly sort of how Igor thought about the world and that is the imprint he put on the bicycle planet.
"If you were a customer you learned pretty quickly that this was a hard capitalist, with some hard socialist, what's mine is yours, what's yours is yours type mentality," Poplak said.
Kenk was born in Yugoslavia, which is now know as Slovenia. Once a police officer, he moved to Toronto in February 1988.
He set up his bicycle shop in 1992 and moved three years later to 927 Queen St. West location where it remained until his arrest.
Poplak is currently working with Pop Sandbox productions on a documentary that will follow Kenk's life before and after his arrest. Along with the video component, the team plans to release a graphic novel treatment of the documentary.
It was this graphic novel idea that persuaded Poplak to jump on board.
"It's an opportunity to do something simultaneously radical with profile journalism and the graphic form and that's exciting as hell. The book will look like nothing that's come before it," said Poplak in a press release.
Poplak's graphic novel and documentary are currently in production and will be completed at the end of 2009.