Rash of mountain bike thefts hits Keystone | SummitDaily.com

Rash of mountain bike thefts hits Keystone

Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc

KEYSTONE ” More than $33,000 worth of high-end mountain bikes have been stolen from the Keystone area since the beginning of the month, most of which were snatched by a thief who penetrated a locked bike rack system, according to reports from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

All of the victims have been Front Range residents, including Patrick Cheliw, who reported his $5,000 custom-made Santa Cruz Blur stolen last Sunday morning.

“It was pretty simple. I had locked my bike up on top of the truck and came back in the morning and it was gone,” Cheliw said Monday morning.

Cheliw was staying at Keystone Resort for the weekend and had left his hand-built bike secured on his truck in the Montezuma Lot.

He last saw his bike at about 11 p.m. Saturday and, by 9 a.m. Sunday, his Yakima bike rack had been broken and the bike swiped.

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The thief did not attempt to steal Cheliw’s Specialized Stumpjumper with semi high-end components, leaving police to believe whoever took the Blur knew what they were looking for or knows a fair bit about mountain bikes.

“These are highly specialized bicycles not designed for casual cruising or trailriding,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jill Berman.

Cheliw’s case is similar to several other incidents currently being investigated by the sheriff’s office.

n On Sept. 4, a man reported that his $2,000 Kona Stinky full suspension mountain bike had been taken from the back of his pickup truck, which was parked in the Gateway Condos parking garage. In this case, the bike was not locked.

n On Sept. 5, a woman called to say the lock had been cut on her rear-mounted bike rack while her vehicle was parked in the Tenderfoot Lodge parking lot, and her Cannondale Scalpel valued at $2,200 was taken. The suspect used heavy grade bolt cutters to clip the wire cable securing the bikes, the report said.

Just like Cheliw, the woman had a second bike on the rack that was left untouched, although it would have required no extra effort to take.

The difference between the two is the stolen bike was a full suspension model, the police report said.

n Again on Sept. 5, another call came in from three victims whose bikes had been snagged from two pickup trucks that were parked side-by-side in the Key Condos parking garage.

A total of five bikes were stolen from the two trucks: a $6,000 Astrix Havoc, a $6,000 Rocky Mountain RMX Wade Simmons, a $2,000 Diamond Back Assault and two Astrix Hucksters each valued at $5,000.

Both trucks had half-inch cables locking the bikes into the truck beds that were likely cut by high-grade large bolt cutters, the report said.

Berman said the bikes in all these cases, except for the Kona that was left unsecured, were locked up properly.

“If somebody wants it bad enough they’ll take it,” Berman said. “Unfortunately sometimes the best security system can be beaten.”

Greg Guras, longtime owner of A Racer’s Edge bike shop in Breckenridge, thinks thefts of expensive bikes have become a professional business for thieves who turn around and sell them.

Guras has only had four of his shop’s bikes stolen in his 20 years of business, including one incident that took place this past summer. A customer’s $6,000 bike was inside the store, when Guras believes somebody distracted the store employee while another person rolled the bike right out the door.

He says people toting around their expensive bikes should keep it in their sight at all times: place it in the foyer of the restaurant where you’re eating, take the bike apart and put it in your trunk or bring it inside your house or hotel room.

Cheliw, for one, has learned his lesson.

Although he wishes the condo association through which he rented in Keystone would’ve warned him about the recent rash of bike thefts, he knows from now on to bring his mountain bike inside, even when he’s out of the city and in the mountains.

Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or at nformosa@summitdaily.com

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