An early morning break-in on Jan. 14 at Poway Bicycle left the store with a broken window and missing $20,000 in merchandise, said owner Louie Ibarra.
Ibarra said the break-in is the latest he experienced in a month at his three bicycle stores. There was a similar break-in at his Del Sur store a month ago. The store truck parked outside his Ramona location was vandalized about three weeks ago, he added.
The Poway store, at 13545 Poway Road in Creekside Plaza, was burglarized around 4 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, Ibarra said. He was awoken by a call from his alarm company, asking if the alarm at his store was legitimate. Ibarra said he checked his cameras and told the alarm company it was real.
Ibarra said in addition to the smashed window, about $20,000 worth of high-end bicycles were stolen. “They knew what they were looking for,” he said. Stolen merchandise included high-end mountain bicycles and electric bicycles.
His Del Sur store was burglarized in the same way, with a broken window and similar stolen, high-end merchandise, he said. Ibarra added he suspects the two burglaries are linked because of the similar methods.
Ibarra said he is not sure the vandalized truck was related. It is vandalized with swastikas and racist graffiti, he said. There was also about $20,000 in damage to the windows, tires, doors and hood.
“I don’t think they’re related, but it feels like we’re being targeted,” Ibarra said.
Ibarra said he thinks it is unlikely the stolen bicycles will be recovered. He added stolen bicycles are often taken across the border, where they are broken down and the parts switched around before being resold.
“I put recovery at 1 percent,” he said.
Ibarra said he has insurance, but is hesitant to use it because the multiple break-ins and high-cost claims will make his rates go up.
This is the first time in seven years of owning his stores he has had break-ins and thefts like this, Ibarra said.
“I chose the locations based on where I grew up,” he said, adding he grew up in Poway. “These are locations that typically don’t need bars on the windows. Now I need to do that.”
Ibarra said he is going to have to increase security at his stores, which will be “ugly and expensive.”
“I don’t think I have any other option,” Ibarra said. “It’s scary to think about.”