LONGMONT, Colo. CBS)- Cenna Vaelli has owned Cenna Custom Cycles in Longmont since 2015. In November 2019, his shop was broken into and $40,000 worth of bicycles and merchandise was stolen.
He said it happened quickly.
“Taken within most likely less than a minute,” Cenna said. “It makes you feel very vulnerable just like when you get your bike ripped off in your garage even except you are going to want to magnify it.”
He wasn’t alone. Back in late 2019 and early 2020 CBS4’s Connor McCue interviewed bike shop owners who had the same thing happen to them and were starting to suspect something was going on beyond the run-of-the-mill smash and grab.
“They knew exactly which bikes to target,” said Boulder Cycle Sport General Manager Justin Hoese.
The Owner of Louisville Cyclery Greg Jones said, “It doesn’t feel like it’s a simple bike shop theft anymore. It feels very organized.”
It turns out they were right. On Wednesday, Colorado Attorney General Phil Wiser announced 8 indictments related to a bike theft ring targeting shops all over the state. According to the AG, the suspects had a well-organized plan. They would steal a large vehicle, smash the windows of a closed shop and steal high-end bikes. They would then sell them in other countries. They hit 29 shops, many of them multiple times. The approximate value of the stolen bikes alone is $985,000.
While insurance covers most of the financial losses, Cenna says when something like this happens, you never truly get over the anxiety it causes.
“It’s an uncomfortable feeling,” Cenna said.
He says he’s thankful for law enforcement and the AG for bringing these men to justice and hopes this is the end of their crime spree.
“Perhaps this organized gang is no longer operative,” Cenna said.
The AG says the men are collectively charged with 227 counts of burglaries, auto thefts, attempted burglaries and theft. The value of the stolen vehicles, stolen property, and property damage is approximately $1.5 million.