CLEVELAND (WJW) – It is the only bike track of its kind in Ohio, and now, police are looking for the thieves who stole tens of thousands of dollars worth of bicycles from the Cleveland Velodrome.
The break-in happened several weeks ago, but the track operators hope the public can help them locate the expensive bikes.
The Cleveland Velodrome on Broadway Avenue in the city’s Slavic Village neighborhood provides what it calls “high-speed gravity defying” racing from May through October on a 1/10th of a mile track.
“All our programming for kids 18 and under is free, so that includes use of a rental bike, the track time, as well as coaching, and without the bikes, we’re kind of in a pickle,” said trustee Brett Davis.
Around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Davis discovered someone had broken into the trailer housing dozens of expensive track bikes.
He says the front gate was locked, the front door was fine and the alarm was armed, but when he got inside, the place was a mess.
“Somebody had stolen 25 of our rental bikes, rental track bikes. We have youth and adult riders in racing so it’s a real bummer. My heart just sank when I saw that,” Davis said.
He says the thieves broke through a rear window and somehow avoided motion sensors that are inside the trailer.
Cleveland police came out to take a report, but Brett believes the break-in happened sometime around Thanksgiving.
“We’re in our off-season so nobody’s here on a daily basis. I was coming down to do some errands. What a nightmare. We’re looking for these specialized track bikes, specialized Langster and Felt TK-1 track bikes,” said Davis.
Usually there would be bicycles lined up on the floor and more hanging from the ceiling. Davis says the bikes are very expensive for the nonprofit organization to replace.
“The bike shops helped us out, but we still had to come out of pocket to buy all those bikes, so that’s retail value. That’s $20,000, $30,000 in today’s dollars to replace those bikes, so it really put us in a bad, tight spot,” he said.
The trustee adds that many of the adults who use the track often have their own bikes. The kids who go there do not.
“In particular, the kids from the neighborhood, they don’t have track bikes, so they use our rental fleet, so that’s who it’s really going to have the greatest impact on,” said Davis.
The storage trailer does have surveillance cameras, and the trustees are in the process of going through the video to see if it offers any clues. Anyone with information is asked to contact Cleveland police.