San Diego

Cameras Catch Smash-and-Grab at Popular North Park Bike Shop

A popular North Park bicycle shop is hoping the community can help identify a thief who broke in and took a high-priced bike Friday morning.

Bars on the window weren't enough to keep him out of Adams Avenue Bicycles. The thief showed up with tools of his own and took the bars off, then smashed the window. Surveillance cameras caught the entire act, including the moment the thief rode off on a brand-new Moots bicycle.

When mechanic Jake Wells opened the shop Friday morning, he was shocked at what he saw.

"We have a real neighborhood shop vibe,” Wells said. “We really try to be welcoming to the community, so it was kind of a bummer."

All that was left behind of the performance bike was its price tag – a whopping $8,639.99.

Store manager Ian Campbell says Adams Avenue Bicycles has been burglarized three times in the last two years. And with each incident, they’ve upgraded security. The cameras were installed after the last break-in.

"We're just seeing far too many of these in the neighborhood and it is really sad,” Campbell said.

The cameras first recorded the bike thief on the west side of the store at around 3 a.m. He wore a hoody, ski mask, and gloves.

Armed with a wrench and the exact size socket needed to unscrew the window bolts, he managed to breach the metal bars, bust the window and grab the bike from the display in just three minutes.

“This guy seemed really prepared, seemed to know what he was doing,” Campbell thought. "Makes me think he's been here before and had an idea what he was looking for.”

It was a significant loss, but Campbell is counting his blessings.

"Last year we took a bit bigger of a hit so I am trying to look at this as a positive,” he said.

After 40 years in the same neighborhood, Adams Avenue Bicycles is a fixture in North Park. The open storefront is meant to welcome customers, not thieves.

Campbell plans another security upgrade after this latest incident. He says he’s planning on installing some more lighting so that anyone else that thinks about busting through a window won't feel so comfortable in the shadows.

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