Burglarized Anchorage bike shops call for change, cycling community agrees

Published: Jun. 21, 2018 at 10:53 PM AKDT
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A burglary at a local bike shop cost owners $75,000.

Cyclists throughout Anchorage, from individuals to businesses,

are asking for action.

Speedway Cycles owner Greg Matyas says the Wednesday morning break-in was calculated, resulting in damages echoing throughout the Anchorage cycling community. Those damages are sparking conversation about what can be done to combat bike theft in the city.

“I just went in there and it looked like a tornado hit,” Matyas said. “Display cases emptied out, trash all over the floor, clothing, components, accessories. They just kind of rifled through everything."

Speedway Cycles isn't the only bike shop in town experiencing frequent theft.

The Bicycle Shop on Dimond had twice in the last week, a resulting loss of around $8,500.

“I think everyone has been targeted,” the Bicycle Shop on Dimond manager Jamin Hall said. “It's a high-dollar, easy, moveable piece of transportation. I think it was bad last year, and it's taking off pretty fast again this year. Certainly the issue is growing."

Anchorage Police said in a statement today that bicycle shop burglaries are happening at a normal rate. They say they aren't aware of bike theft as a growing issue.

The cycling community disagrees. Tim Woody is a regular bicycle commuter in Anchorage for the last 22 years.

“Things have changed in Anchorage. And stealing bicycles, especially high-end bicycles, has become the thing right now,” Woody said.

Woody, Matyas and Hall all agree that bike theft is a small part of larger issues in Anchorage: drug abuse and crime.

And according to them, a lack of consequences.

"I realize the cost of keeping people in jail. But what's the cost of keeping them out of jail?" Matyas asked.

"From a city-wide perspective, we've got to get a handle of crime in Anchorage. Everybody's talking about it," Woody said.

As Matyas picks up the broken glass in his shop, he can't help but hope that his loss will demonstrate a need for change.

"For me, I hope it can start a more serious conversation of 'what are we going to do about it?'” Matyas said.