Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thieves hit bike shop four times

Updated: Saturday, 20 Nov 2010, 4:51 PM CST
Published : Saturday, 20 Nov 2010, 4:41 PM CST

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Eric Hess, co-owner of Austinbikes off Fifth Street , is dealing with the noise made by a drill and hammer as a glass worker replaces the front windows of his store, yet again.

His store has been broke into five times since June, and four of those times, merchandise was stolen.

"It has gotten to the point where it is overbearing," said Hess.? "We are to the point now where we have to physically keep people out of the business."

Hess said during one of the break-ins, thieves stole $12,000 worth of bikes and other gear.

Now, security is being upped at the store and includes motion sensors, surveillance cameras, a retractable security gate to protect the windows and even the installation of bars over the windows.

Hess called police to report each break-in, but no arrests have been made in the case.? Hess told KXAN he feels 'disappointed' and 'disgruntled' with the police and wants increased patrols in the area.

"We think it is a little ridiculous that we have to go to this length to protect our building and to protect our inventory," Hess explained.

Hess estimates damages and stolen merchandise total more than $25,000.? He said he does have insurance but that does not mean it isn't costly.

"Our premiums are going up and up," Hess said.

Like police, Hess does not have any clue as to the identity of the thieves.

"We don't give the stink eye to any of our clients.? We have no idea who it can be.? We like to think that we do good and help people and it just hurts to know that there are people out there desperate as they may be, resort to things like this," Hess added.

Hess said he is now recording all the serial numbers of the bikes he assembles and sells.

He is also scouring sites like Craigslist and Ebay to see if any of his stolen merchandise is trying to be sold online.


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