VICTORIA -- Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a man who allegedly stole several backpacks from a daycare on Tuesday morning.

Mounties say the backpacks were hung on a fence outside of the daycare as per COVID-19 guidelines when they were swiped by a man who was biking past the area.

Security footage from the daycare, located on Wildlife Place, shows a man ride onto the driveway of the building, walk over to the hanging backpacks and grab three of them. He is then seen riding away on a yellow mountain bike.

Police say that officers patrolled the area after the theft, around 10:45 a.m., but were unable to locate the man.

Mounties were able to find two of the three missing backpacks, however. The backpacks were discovered in a marshy area near the Nanaimo Ice Centre. Police say the backpacks were left open with their contents strewn about nearby.

Police believe the man is still in possession of the last backpack, which was slightly larger and dark blue in colour.

"The little ones were not told about the theft but when the parents were notified they had a range of emotions, from anger (to) disgust to shock," said Const. Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP in a release Thursday.

The man is described as a white male in his late teens or early 20s who was wearing a distinctive hoodie with stripes and a geometric pattern design.

Anyone with information on the theft or the individual is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.

Police say the daycare no longer hangs backpacks on its fence.