Thieves targeting Houston-area bike shops used U-Haul truck to break into one of them

PEARLAND, Texas – Repair crews worked to replace glass and frames that were left damaged by thieves at a Pearland bicycle shop early Monday morning.

The thieves also visited several bike shops across the Houston area in a matter of months.

In one burglary, the thieves broke into a Blue Line Bike Lab in The Heights around 1 a.m. on Dec. 3. Surveillance video shows a driver ramming a U-HAUL truck up a curb and right into the front door of the shop, allowing entry into the business.

It was a sloppy job, said employees at Blue Line Bike Lab.

One man was seen on video slipping on glass, another’s pants fell down and the apparent ringleader seemed visibly upset when one of the men forgot a crucial tool in the vehicle.

“He slaps another guy in the face and I think that’s when they go and get the bolt cutters to bring them in the store because think they forgot them,” said an unnamed employee. “It’s pretty comical.”

It’s comical now because this time, the burglars didn’t get away with any bikes. After being burglarized three other times this past summer for $50,000 in bikes, the Pearland shop put locks on every single bike.

Employees believe that slowed the thieves down because they weren’t expecting that or the surveillance video capturing one of their unmasked faces.

“We spent about $10,000 in security shutters and they just drove right through it,” said Daryl Catchings, owner of Pearland Bicycles.

Daryl Catching, the owner of Pearland Bicycles, said his shop was targeted around 3:30 a.m. Monday for the second time in five months.

KPRC 2 first met Catching in July when burglars were then using a crowbar to break into shops across Texas. They stole $40,000 in high-demand bikes from his shop at that time.

READ: Bicycle shops see increase in thefts, burglaries — some losing up to 50K worth in bikes

Now, their tool of entry is a white U-HAUL.

“I was really surprised they were able to crawl underneath that and still come in and slide bikes from underneath that shutter,” he said.

One-by-one, the men slid about six bikes, collectively valued at $10,000, underneath the shutter.

Catching said he had the shutter installed as a deterrent after the first break-in. He’s now considering even stronger security measures, like, an armed guard because he doesn’t trust leaving pricey bikes in the store.

“We actually pulled all the remaining bikes that we had out in inventory,” he said.

Catching said the bikes that were stolen aren’t replaceable due to the high demand. He fears it’s going to ruin Christmas for the customers who already paid for them.

The Shenandoah Police Department is investigating a Nov. 28 burglary at Bike Land in The Woodlands. Police said the burglars fitting a similar description also used a U-HAUL truck to try to enter the building, but it failed. Police said the men then smashed a window and grabbed five bikes but left them because they couldn’t get the bikes out of the building.