CHICAGO (Fox 32) - A recent piece of surveillance video shows a break-in at a North Side training center and a thief stealing bikes. Now, police are investigating whether it's part of a series of smash and grabs targeting high-end bike shops in the area.
Twice in the past two months, thieves have broken into Well-Fit Performance, a training center on the near West Side, and as first reported by Block Club Chicago, stole high-end bikes worth more than $50,000.
“Basically a smash and grab, that’s what they do,” said owner Sharone Aharone.
Aharone captured one of the break-ins on surveillance video, which shows a thief in a ski mask handing three bikes to his cohorts outside in less than 45 seconds.
“I believe they scoped the area before,” he said. "It's unbelievable. It's like no respect for people's property."
At BFF Bikes in Bucktown, thieves have hit twice in the past month, smashing through the front door.
Owner Kelly O’Brien says there have been at least a dozen smash and grabs at nine bike shops on the North Side since early December, taking about $100,000 worth of bikes. Police say they don't yet know if they're connected.
“This seems very well organized and they have a very specific bike that they're going for,” O’Brien said.
“These aren't things that you're going to see on Craigslist or eBay."
Indeed, bikes this expensive carry multiple serial numbers and identifiers making them difficult to fence locally.
“From what I understand, there is a big ring of bicycle thefts that load up a container and ship to China, the far east,” Aharone said.