Sheriff’s Office warns of spike in bike thefts across Summit County

Bike theft spike prompts warning

Bike thefts are increasing countywide, prompting a warning from law enforcement.

Photos of lost bikes have been popping up on local messaging boards. Bicycles have been taken from bike racks, porches, outside of businesses and even garages, police say.

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office has seen a recent increase in high-end bicycle thefts countywide, specifically in the unincorporated areas and the towns of Silverthorne, Frisco and Breckenridge. Since June 2022, a total of eight bikes have been reported stolen, six of which were stolen in July, the office reported.

Lindsay Galbraith rides the Copper Triangle in 2021 on her gravel bike. The bike went missing from her home in Frisco on July 21.
Lindsay Galbraith/Courtesy photo

“I rode it almost every day,” Lindsay Galbraith said of her gravel bike that was recently stolen.

Galbraith resides near the west end of Main Street in Frisco. In the last two years, two of her bikes, worth a total of about $2,500, were stolen.

“They must know about our building,” she said.

Lindsay Galbraith’s gravel bike, pictured, went missing from her home in Frisco on July 21.
Lindsay Galbraith/Courtesy photo

The first time around, thieves cut her Kryptonite lock and got away with an $800 fat bike in January 2021. The second time, July 20, thieves snagged her roughly $1,700 gravel bike, and all that remained of it was the remnants of the second Kryptonite bike lock she bought after losing her first bike. Both were stored in her condo’s shared garage.

Thanks to technology, a neighbor with a Ring camera may have caught the thieves driving off with her gravel bike. She said a pickup truck pulled into the garage around 5 a.m. on July 20. About four minutes later, it left with something metallic in the bed, she said.

She described the possible operation as “business-like.” They were in and out. “They knew exactly what they were going for,” she said.

She reported her bike stolen, but Frisco police had no leads, she said. She’s also posted the bike’s serial number on Bike Index, a website where owners can put their bike on file and report it stolen. Community members can then identify a bike and contact its owner. 

Galbraith hasn’t completely lost hope, but given her first bike had been lost for more than a year and a half, she already moved on and bought a new one to keep pedaling through the summer. As of Monday, both bikes were still missing, so she continues to check Craigslist and Pinkbike, just in case, she said.

Max Laney’s bike was stolen from his Wildernest carport between Saturday, July 23, and Sunday, July 24.
Max Laney/Courtesy image

Max Laney, of Wildernest, reported a similar incident. On July 24, he returned from a one-night camping and kayaking trip along the Arkansas River to find that the two locks wrapped around his bike had been cut.

His bike had been “tucked away” in his unit’s carport alongside a handful of his roommates’ bikes. The bikes, about six in total, were locked to a bike rack with a tangle of three locks. All three were cut, he said, including the two attached to his. 

In total, at least $10,000 worth of bikes were strapped to the bike rack, yet Laney’s $4,000 custom YT Carpa was the only one missing. If the thief knew what they were doing, he said, they unfortunately made the best choice. His roommates slightly less expensive downhill bike was also let loose from its lock, but it was left alone.

Laney said he reported the theft to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, and all his roommates moved their bikes to their unit’s balcony.

Laney doesn’t have much hope of reuniting with his bike, and — especially after totalling his car the week prior after hitting a deer – he doesn’t have the money to replace it.

“I know about the bike situation. I know they disappear pretty quickly,” he said. “I honestly don’t think it’s in the county any more.”

“Unfortunately, Summit County is not immune to these types of thefts that often leave the victim feeling violated,” Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said. “All of the bicycles that were stolen in this recent rash of thefts were all locked or chained outside which shows the determination of criminals.

Thieves will sometimes operate alone and other times as part of criminal organizations he said.

“They can be very complicated investigations,” FitzSimons said.

Bikes, like cars, can often be worth more in parts than in full, and thieves will sometimes break a bike down to its individual parts, making recovery nearly impossible, he said.

To help prevent bike theft, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office recommends the following pieces of advice:

  • Know and document the bike’s make, model and year. Take plenty of pictures of the bike and record its serial number. Serial numbers and a photo can help return a bike to its owner, the Sheriff’s Office said.
  • Good locks go a long way. U-locks are heavier, bulkier and harder to cut than cable locks, the Sheriff’s Office said. Bike owners should minimize the space between the lock and the bike and should lock the most expensive parts of the bike — usually the frame and rear wheel. Bikers should also make sure the thing they’re securing their bike to is immovable and the lock cannot be slipped off.
  • Lock the bike in a well-lit area, preferably under surveillance. While a garage can be a secure place, the Sheriff’s Office said owners should make sure their bikes are not visible from the street. Thieves have been known to walk into garages, so owners should also make sure their garage doors are closed and secured.

The Sheriff’s Office also encourages owners purchase bike insurance and a GPS tracker.

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