AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police are offering up to a $1,000 reward for anyone who can help identify a bike thief suspect.
At a news conference Tuesday, APD announced they are looking for any information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of a man who allegedly stole four bicycles from a home in East Austin over the Fourth of July weekend.
The suspect is described as:
- White or Hispanic
- 25-35 years of age
- Medium build
This incident is just one of about 35 bike theft cases since January.
The man estimates his four bikes were worth around $14,000. According to police, the burglary suspects have been targeting homes with high-end, expensive bikes.
“There’s always been those incidents where your bike is outside of a store, or on the back of your car and those seem to be more opportunistic thefts,” said Will Black, general manager at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop. “But this seems like a more targeted and strategic theft. It seems as though the thieves already know that person’s garage or house they’re breaking into have expensive bikes inside.”
People in the cycling community have also put together a reward of up to $3,000.
Det. Evonne McGuire of the APD Burglary Unit says the thefts started in the Allandale neighborhood and have since spread citywide.
“They’re forcefully entering the garages at night when people are asleep,” said McGuire. “A lot of these garages are attached to homes so there is a safety factor involved, and this is why we are working as hard as we can to stop this person, or these people.”
Allan Sieja had three mountain bikes stolen worth approximately $13,000. He works at Mellow Johnny’s bike shop downtown and lives in Allandale.
“We were definitely there asleep, and my wife and my kid were there…what if we had kept it at our house and they decided they could just come in? It’s rough,” he said. “I mean it’s my life. Clearly bikes are my livelihood, but it’s also how I get to work.”
Some victims worry if the thieves are not caught soon, they will come back for more.
“I’ve had moments where I’m in the house and asking, ‘was that our garage?’” Black said. “Something I normally wouldn’t have thought of in the past and now paying more attention.”
If you have any information or see anything suspicious happening your area, call Crime Stoppers or the burglary tip line at 512-974-6800.