Smash and grab bike theft gang continues to target stores on North Side

Yet another bike store smash and grab on the North Side of Chicago is the latest in more than a dozen burglaries targeting high-end bikes worth thousands of dollars.

Police are now confirming the thefts are connected.

Mark Mattei has owned Cycle Smithy in Lincoln Park since 1978 and says he’s never seen anything like it.

“It's a crew that's got their stuff down and they're doing it again and again,” said Mattei.

Four men captured on a surveillance camera around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning cut through a security gate and smashed the front window, grabbing five high-end bikes worth more than $24,000.

“They just went through cable, which is pretty straight forward,” said Mattei. “But I’ve got at least two of these u-shaped or kryptonite type locks that were also gone through and those are even harder to cut."

It's believed the same crew is responsible for up to 15 bike store thefts on the North Side, several captured on camera. They’re in and out in less than a minute and go for the good stuff, possibly to be shipped overseas where the serial numbers won't matter.

“They're not popping up on eBay or Craigslist,” said Mattei. “The detectives tell me they're not showing up in pawn shops."

After Mattei was burglarized just three weeks ago, he spent thousands of dollars putting up a giant steel barrier to protect the front windows. However, that didn’t even work.

After 41 years, Mattei says he would like to stay in business, but not under these conditions. 

“Not if I have to be under the threat of a break in every month or two, twice a month or whatever,” said Mattei. “I can't sustain that just as a business model. I will become untenable."