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Police offer reward for ‘window pane bandit’ who has hit several bike shops

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

West End Bikes on SW Stark
and 11th is one of several shops
that has been broken into
this past week.
(Photo © J. Maus)

A thief who has (nearly) mastered the ability to remove large windows without breaking them has hit several bike shops and other businesses in the past week.

A total of six businesses (including three bike shops and one bike rack store) have been burglarized since November 1st by what police feel is the same criminal. Two bicycles stolen from windows have since been recovered (officers found them being ridden by people at the site of Occupy Portland) and now Crime Stoppers of Oregon is offering a $1,000 reward to catch the suspect who’s responsible for the string of thefts.

In each of the incidents, the suspect expertly removed a large window without smashing it (or at least trying to not smash it).

Jay Torborg, co-owner of Western Bike Works says the thief that hit their store simply removed a large window and set it aside. In their case, the suspect took only one inexpensive bike. “It would have cost us more to replace the window than the bike,” Torborg told me this morning.

Scott Caldwell, the manager of Rack Attack on SW Morrison, says someone stole a high-end downhill mountain bike that was on display in their window. Caldwell, who dubbed the suspect the “window pane bandit,” said their window was removed “with care and all the hardware was placed in a neat little pile.” “The thieves figured out that they could dash in-and-out without consequence.”

The same type of break-in happened at 21st Avenue Bicycles on Wednesday night. “The thieves broke in,” employee Kyle von Hoetzendorff told us via email, “by removing the glass from our front window and entering through the door.”

Other shops broken into in the same way include Performance Bicycle and West End Bikes.

At West End, the thief wasn’t quite as successful. Not only was he caught on the store’s video camera, but after spending an hour carefully prying out the window, an employee who has watched the video says it shattered when the thief tried to set it on the ground.

West End employee Jens Schrader says the thief worked slowly, “intermittently prying seals around glass parts of the door, getting the window pane free, then trying to remove the glass.” Once the thief got the window out, he crawled through the door, walked right over to a $4,700 Specialized road bike, cut the cable it was locked up with and walked out. “He had clearly been in the shop before,” said Schrader, “because he knew which bike he wanted and it fit him.”

If you have any information about these cases, visit the Crime Stoppers website to leave a tip or call (503) 823 HELP.