CLEVELAND - A Cleveland bicycle shop is on the brink of closing after being burglarized three times in as many months, with nearly $30,000 in bicycles reported stolen to police.
“We're trying to stay afloat, but it's like a ship that's taking on water,” Simpler Times Vintage Bicycle Gallery owner Kelvin Tate said. “We can only stay up for so long.”
Tate reported about two dozen vintage bikes have been stolen since July from the store on the 3200 block of West 25th Street.
The most recent break-in occurred Friday night, leaving the front door smashed and eight classic bicycles stolen, according to a police report.
“They ripped my front door off the hinges,” Tate said. “It kind of looked like the Incredible Hulk had come into the place.”
According to police, additional bicycles and computer equipment were stolen in August and other bicycles were snatched during a break-in in July.
The stolen bicycles often end up resold on city streets. In fact, Tate said he tried to buy back one stolen bicycle himself, after his friend saw it on the streets. He only got it after flagging down a police officer, who confirmed it was stolen property.
“When you talk about a small business, we don't make that much profit off of it in the first place,” Tate said. “We're in the hole here. So if I'm losing $10,000 a month, I'm not even making $10,000 a month, so I'm digging a hole. It's a deep hole.”
Tate said he’s frustrated by the lack of arrests and police follow-up that he feels have allowed the thefts to continue.
“I'm not trying to knock the police at all, we need the police. But we need a better job. We need a better job, a little follow-up,” Tate said. “It seems like the same people are breaking in every time.”
After owning the shop for four years, Tate said he may have to move it away from Cleveland.