Thieves target high-end bicycles

March 20, 2012 4:20:11 PM PDT
We've seen surveillance video of thieves targeting jewelry stores and pawn shops, but bike shops? Now local bicycle shop owners say they are being targeted and the criminals know exactly what to take.

They back a van up to the door and use a crowbar to break in. Store owners say thieves are targeting bike shops throughout the Houston area.

The surveillance video shows thieves running into Tru Tri Sports in Cypress at 1:30am on March 9. They were running because, employees say, they had already scoped out the place.

"They were in and out that quick. They knew exactly where the bikes were, so I would definitely would say they've been in our store before," said Jennifer Darnell with Tru Tri Sports.

Three men went after six of the most expensive bikes, ranging in price from $3,000 to $5,000.

"So he runs out with two bikes; this guy goes over here and grabs these two bikes; there's another guy in the front grabbing two bikes right now. So that's four bikes out and then six bikes out and then they are done," Darnell said.

Even worse, the high-end triathlon store has only been open eight weeks but has been hit twice. They are not the only ones reviewing surveillance video.

"I believe there are 18 break-ins in the past six months here in Houston involving bike shops," said Jim with Houston Cycling Center.

The Houston Cycling Center has also been burglarized multiple times over the last several weeks. The most recent happened just a few hours after the burglary at Tru Tri Sports.

"We have three stores and have been hit a total of four times; the latest is this past weekend," Jim said.

The triathlon community in the greater Houston area is close and now well aware they are the targets of a high-end bike theft ring.

"Hearing about other bike stores being hit just adds salt to the wound, knowing that they are hitting a lot of these other local businesses," said Keri Ottenwalder with Tru Tri Sports.

The owner of Houston Cycling Center says they have information leading them to believe the bikes are being sold with new price tags at lower costs.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office is investigating.