- On October 3, Sports Garage Cycling in Boulder, Colorado was robbed when thieves drove a vehicle through their garage door, damaging the shop and inventory. They stole 13 bikes.
- Other bike retailers in the area have been burglarized as well.
Bike theft is a bigger problem than most realize, with an estimated two million bicycles stolen each year in the U.S. and Canada alone. It’s also a highly lucrative business, and thieves often go to great—if not shameless—lengths in order to steal bikes.
Brad James and Elorie Slater, the owners of Sports Garage Cycling in Boulder, Colorado, unfortunately experienced this firsthand. Earlier this month, on October 3, they were awoken at around 4:30 a.m. by a call from their bike shop’s alarm company.
Police were dispatched, and soon called to tell them that someone had broken into the shop, causing significant damage: A vehicle had driven through their garage door. The break-in was confirmed to Bicycling by the Boulder Police Department.
Elorie Slater told Bicycling that it appeared that the thief (or thieves) had broken in by “backing a box truck through the garage door.”
Apart from the damaged garage door, Slater said that the method of breaking and entering left behind “extensive damage to the bicycles hanging from the west wall fixtures.” After sifting through the damage, they determined that 13 bikes had been stolen.
Slater said the stolen bikes are all “carbon full-suspension mountain bikes with high-end components,” from the brands Yeti, Santa Cruz, Rocky Mountain, and Pivot.
“When they were taken from our building, they had bright citron yellow ‘DEMO’ stickers on the forks; however, we can only assume that those have been removed,” she said.
Slater was informed by the Boulder and Denver police departments that they believe an organized syndicate is to blame for similar crimes in the Boulder and Denver metropolitan areas. She said that she personally knows of other bicycle retailers who have been burglarized in the last six months, too. After their break-in, another one occurred less than two weeks later, on October 14, at Louisville Cyclery—just eight miles from Sports Garage Cycling.
“It is largely believed that the bikes that are stolen by this organized group are not sold locally—they are exported to other markets,” she said.
Still, the bright side of this whole ordeal has been the outpouring of support from the community and their customers in the days following the break-in.
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“We had customers show up just after dawn with breakfast for our staff, and people calling and offering to help us clean up and rebuild anything that needed to be rebuilt. We got messages from former customers that now live in faraway states, sending love and support,” Slater described. “We had one customer volunteer to do a BBQ to invite the community over to show support.”
She said it’s “a testament to the importance of the local bike shop in people’s lives.”
And so the recovery process begins.
“It is a significant portion of our bicycle assets that were stolen or damaged,” Slater said. Most of their demo fleet will have to be replaced as well.
Along with replacing the garage door and fixing the other damage, Sports Garage Cycling will also be getting a one-of-a-kind facelift: They’re sponsoring a public art project called StreetWise and getting two custom murals done by So-Gnar Creative Division from Denver.
“It’s a new day. The support, love, and words of encouragement we received yesterday made 100 percent of the difference,” they said in a Facebook post, the day after the robbery. “Spirits are high, even if inventory is a little...er....low.”
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