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Bikes valued at $80,000 stolen, and thieves may not know what they have

<i>Boulder Police/KCNC</i><br/>Bikes valued at $80
Boulder Police/KCNC
Boulder Police/KCNC
Bikes valued at $80

By Alan Gionet

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    BOULDER, Colorado (KCNC) — The plague of bike thefts took a turn for the more expensive this week in Boulder. Thieves got away with three bikes from a research firm experimenting with a new drive system that it hopes will one day replace chains on bikes.

“They smashed in the window with a rock. Glass front door,” described Alex Rosenberry, R&D engineer with Driven Technologies. “They pushed it through. Went straight in stole three bikes, a couple personal possessions and right back out the way they came in.”

They figure the thieves came up from the Goose Creek Bike Path that runs right by the company’s headquarters overnight Wednesday. Two of the bikes were prototypes. One was a time trial bike, the other a mountain bike. They are valued at about $70,000. Also taken was a commercially available Specialized E bike.

But that bike was recovered Thursday morning.

“So he came in, he rolled up his very expensive $12,000 Turbo Levo bike from Specialized. Super high end e bike,” described Full Cycle bike store owner Russ Chandler. “He bought the hand pump. He handed over the cash. He had a wad of cash in his hand.”

There was something else suspicious, said Chandler. He didn’t know how to pump up the tires and he had bolt cutters jutting out from his backpack.

“Not too many upstanding customers run around with bolt cutters and $12,000 bikes,” said Chandler.

So they called police, who soon after found the man and arrested him. But police say he’s not giving up any information about the other bikes.

The two bikes still missing were prototypes created by Drive Technology to show off the patented drive system it hopes to sell.

“We’re trying to make the drive trains of the future and they’re still a work in progress so we just have a couple very limited prototypes,” said Rosenberry.

They believe the thieves would have had to carry the time trial and mountain bike away because they were not ridable.

“They’ve got shaft drives that haven’t been fully developed. So the chain is removed, the frame is modified. And all the parts are custom,” said Rosenberry. “So to make it ridable you would need custom parts and engineer know-how,” he added. “Without us really there’s no way you could make those bikes work.”

Chandler says two suspicious looking people also showed up in his store early Thursday looking for pedals, saying they had left a bike in the bushes after a night of drinking.

Chandler has grown weary of bike thieves. He’d already dealt with another this week. Wednesday a man tried to buy a bike in his store with stolen credit and ID. Police, he says, found 40 stolen IDs in the man’s backpack.

“It’s really bad because it’s the currency of drug addicts,” he said. “It got extremely bad during the COVID times because the jails were not taking anybody but extreme violent criminals … You make money and you don’t suffer consequences so why not?”

He is not sure whether the man arrested with the stolen Specialized bike is behind the thefts or not.

“I don’t think he was alone at all. What I don’t know is whether he was the burglar or whether he was the one that bought from the burglar. But I’m pretty sure he wasn’t alone.”

He believes many stolen bikes are simply sold for parts.

Being victimized is tough on the people at Driven Technologies.

“Yeah, super frustrating. It’s not fun to show up to work to find your door missing and glass everywhere,” said Rosenberry.

The company is hoping for an answer soon and has searched the bike path and along the creek to see if they were dumped.

“Anyone who knows what the bike is would not be interested in owning it and anyone who doesn’t know what the bike is, wouldn’t have a use for it because it’s so specialized.”

Anyone with information about this crime that might help in the search for the two missing bikes is asked to contact Boulder detective C. Hartkopp at 303-441-1951 or Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477) where tipsters can remain anonymous.

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