Eight men are accused of running a high-end bicycle theft ring responsible for more than $1.5 million in thefts in Colorado during the pandemic, officials say.
Collectively, the men face 227 counts of charges ranging from burglary to auto theft, the state Attorney General’s Office said in a Nov. 17 news release.
Their crimes stretched from Fraser to Boulder and Denver between December 2019 and June 2020, the release said.
The men planned their burglaries on Facebook, then teams of four broke into bicycle shops by ramming the front doors with stolen vehicles or smashing them with rocks, the release said.
They stole high-end bicycles, bypassing less-valuable merchandise, to sell outside the U.S., then abandoned the stolen vehicle to escape in a second stolen vehicle, the release said.
Video shows the thieves stole $90,000 in bicycles in less than five minutes in one theft, the attorney general’s office said. They hit some stores as many as four times.
Justin Mattison, owner of The Bikery in Littleton, watched the men burglarize his store on security video at home, he told KDVR.
“I’m laying next to my wife and I’m like, it’s happening,” he said. “We’re being robbed now. And I still get goosebumps to this day.”
A statewide grand jury indicted the eight men in the crimes, officials said. They face charges including violating Colorado’s Organized Crime Control Act, aggravated motor vehicle theft, burglary, theft and criminal mischief.
Few of the stolen bicycles have been recovered, the attorney general’s office said. Many are thought to have been resold in Mexico.
The Littleton burglary left his shop short of bicycles to sell because of supply shortages during the coronavirus pandemic, Mattison told KDVR.
“As far as bikes go, it’s always been thought of as like a recreation, but for a lot of people in the state of Colorado, it’s their livelihood, it’s their passion, it’s what makes them who they are,” he said. “And when somebody steals that away from them, it sucks.”