AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin area bike shop has been hit by thieves five times between its two locations since February, and one shop has a giant hole in the front of it as a result of the latest one early Thursday.
The Peddler bike shop owner AJ Camp says surveillance video from a coffee shop next door shows a truck ramming through the front of his Hyde Park store, then a white van with four people pulled up and started loading it up with bikes.
Between that location and his one in Cedar Park, he estimates $70,000-$80,000 worth of bikes have been taken in five break-ins since February. With each break-in, Camp says the thieves take several bikes.
Camp says the thieves aren’t just taking new bikes, they also take bikes that in for repair. Once Camp notifies the owners of the stolen bikes, he says he fronts the money for the bike’s value to the owner and then files an insurance claim in hopes he’ll get reimbursed that way.
Camp says he’s not the only shop owner that thieves have targeted, either. He’s in an email thread with several other shop owners that say they’ve had bikes stolen from them since the beginning of the year.
One of those is Mellow Johnny’s in downtown Austin. The shop’s general manager told KXAN in addition to three bikes on sale being stolen, the thieves also snatched a one-of-a-kind bike that Lance Armstrong once rode in the Tour de France, which had been on display in the store.
The owner of Monkey Wrench Bicycles told KXAN his store was his three separate times, and altogether he lost around $40,000. After already struggling during the pandemic, he says losing so many bikes was a final push to close down his shop for good.
At Cycle Progression on Guadalupe St. employees began noticing damage on the outside of the store several months ago. They say someone tried to break in multiple times. Proactively, the store installed metal bars along the windows and doors, and so far, that’s kept thieves out.
Several of the store owners KXAN spoke with say investigators review store security footage of the thefts, then have told them the thieves were driving stolen vehicles or vehicles with stolen license plates.
Camp says police continue to update the group of bike shops as they investigate the thefts, but he wants to get the word out further in hopes it will draw more attention to what’s going on and catch the suspects faster.