Gang steals £ 27,500 of bikes in targeted bike shop raid
Owners of an independent bike shop were devastated after thieves broke in, silenced alarms and stole nine mountain bikes worth £ 27,500.
Safety footage shows the raiders ignoring other items and selecting the top-of-the-line models at Uttoxeter Cycles over the weekend.
John Kucharik, owner of the Uttoxeter store, believes the incident was targeted after receiving a call from police on Sunday morning.
He said, “They didn’t take anything else and didn’t bother anything else. They literally came, took what they wanted and left. They moved things around to get what they wanted.
“From the footage, it looks like they took their time, methodically disarming the alarm system and everything in between. They knew what they were doing. It just feels like they’re not afraid of the police coming or someone disturbing them.
“They chose a very stormy and windy night, so the local residents weren’t really bothered.”
John revealed that it would be difficult to get the bikes back, as a nationwide shortage means more bikes may not be available until next year.
He added: “Under normal circumstances we could pick up the phone, order bikes and have them delivered, but at the moment we may be looking into next year before we see any new stock.
“These bikes were made by hand, so it takes days and days of work to set them up and put them together. “
The pandemic had already meant that the stock in the shop was lower than usual.
He said: “We normally have up to 100 bikes, but since the start of the pandemic we’ve dropped to less than 20 bikes, and now all nine are gone, I probably have half a dozen left if that.
“Fortunately, we have the workshop to allow us to continue, it has been very strong throughout really. “
The insurance will also only cover the cost of the bikes, but any profit that could have been made from it has been lost.
John added, “It’s heartbreaking. I have been doing this job for 20 years, and this is the first time that this has happened to me. You accumulate this stuff over a long period of time. It’s not something you can just replace that easily.
“The money you put back into companies to get that kind of stock takes a long time.
“The police have been brilliant, and the local residents have been great too. The local community came to wish us good luck.
The police are now calling for witnesses.
A Staffordshire Police spokesperson said: ‘We received reports of a break-in at a bicycle shop on High Street, Uttoxeter just after 5.10am on Sunday 14 March.
“Officers attended the scene and discovered that entry had been forced into the store.
“A number of bikes were stolen in the break-in and an investigation is underway. Officers have conducted door-to-door investigations in the area and continue to watch local CCTV.”
Anyone with information should contact Staffordshire Police on Twitter or Facebook and quote incident number 0096 of March 14.
You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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