COSTA MESA (CBSLA) — A $1,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of a high-end bike thief.
Police said the suspect portrayed himself as a potential customer at the family-owned Cyclist Bike Shop in Costa Mesa on Tuesday afternoon.
The bicycle is worth $5,000. Police are hoping the public recognizes the suspect.
KCAL9 Orange County reporter Stacey Butler spoke to the store’s owner and his son.
“When he first came in he was very normal. He knew all the lingo. He knew everything to talk about,” says Colt Marconi about the business his dad owns.
Colt believed he was dealing with a seasoned cyclist.
“My general manager spent like half an hour, 45 minutes with him talking about the bikes,” says Colt.
The “customer” was looking at a bike similar to the popular pro ride BH G7.
The suspect gave Colt his driver’s license and took the bike for a test ride. The picture on the ID appeared to match up with the customer but as Colt and his general manager looked closer, they realized something was wrong.
“We realized that ID said he was born in 1954. That guy is maybe in his late 30s,” Colt says.
That’s when the general manager got an electric bike ready just in case the guy took off.
After three laps in front of the store, they said the customer became a thief and sped off.
“On the last lap he said, ‘Man this bike is amazing.’ Then he disappeared around the corner and that’s the last we saw of him,” says Colt.
Security video from a neighboring business shows the thief ride south on Newport Boulevard.
These kinds of thefts are not uncommon.
“It’s happening more and more as the price of bikes [rises],” says store owner John Marconi.
He said the BH Ultralight EVO Disc is one of the most expensive bikes in his shop. He calls the theft a gut punch after a slow winter.
“With the two months of rain, it’s been tough. The whole bike industry is down by 20-25 percent, some of them as much as 60 percent,” Marconi says.
He has now posted the $1,000 reward on social media. He is hoping the security video will help police catch the thief as he takes steps to make sure such a theft doesn’t happen again.
“We are going to look at the license a lot more carefully,” he says. “We’re going to take a look at what they’ve got, what they’re holding. If they’ve got a backpack and a phone, hey, leave it here — we put it behind the counter.”
If you recognize the suspect, you’re asked to call Costa Mesa Police.