PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Authorities are searching for two men who allegedly stole from Fat Tire Farm after backing a van into and damaging the Portland bicycle shop early Monday morning.
Portland police arrived at the scene on the corner of Northwest Thurman Street and Northwest 27th Avenue around 1:30 a.m.
In a Facebook post, Fat Tire Farm said this is the fourth time it’s been broken into in less than a year. This time the business said the alleged thieves stole a single bike, a Yeti SB160 T1, worth $10,000.
The van officers said was used to crash into the business was found near the scene.
Police said the suspects fled the area and no arrests were immediately made. PPB did not release a description for either suspect.
Video of the scene shows the front door panel ripped out and broken glass surrounding it. Shards of broken glass are also seen on top of the van.
Store manager Barry O’Connor tells KOIN 6 News he wasn’t surprised to get the call from Portland police was a bit surprised but not shocked by the thief’s method. O’Connor also said that he’s frustrated with the lack of police resources to investigate these crimes and that in the three burglaries prior to Monday, he never heard from detectives after filing a police report.
“All of the officers who have responded have been very sympathetic and expressed frustration that they’re not getting support from above from the city leadership. I also feel like none of these cases have really been pursued. I understand that we can’t pursue every single property crime, but you know, a couple of them have been quite large,” he said.
The store, which O’Connor says is the only mountain bike shop in Portland, has paid out an estimated $75,000 due to burglaries within the last year. Costs include replacing stolen merchandise, repairing damage to the building and adding security measures such as cameras, tougher glass and doors.
Numbers from Portland Police Bureau show within the last two years burglaries across the city have skyrocketed. PPB says they only have two detectives part of the Property Crimes Unit. Those detectives are responsible for investigating not just burglaries but also white-collar crimes, fraud and more.
O’Connor says the lack of support and security given to small businesses considering their tax burden, is not only unfair but unsustainable.
“I think increasingly, the city’s just gonna see small businesses start to shutter up and, and look elsewhere,” he said.
O’Connor says he is not sure if the shop will file an insurance claim this time out of fear of being dropped by the insurance company. He wants the mayor, who’s also the city’s police commissioner, and the city council to “come up with a plan” to start protecting small businesses from these break-ins.
The Mayor’s office says they have worked to connect Fat Tire Farm with Business Repair Grants provided by Prosper Portland. As far as police staffing is concerend, Mayow Wheeler said “we don’t have a recruiting problem, we have a problem getting new hires through the state-managed training program and we are fighting hard this legislative session to free up more resources.”