KAPOLEI (HawaiiNewsNow) – Electric bicycles, commonly known as e-bikes, are growing in popularity as the price of gasoline soars.
But they’re also becoming popular among thieves, who appear to be more organized in getting what they want.
E-Bike Hawaii’s Kapolei location has been broken into four times in the two years since it opened. But the last two times actually happened in the last two weeks alone.
Surveillance video shows a break-in that occurred on April 27. Two men are seen pulling up in a truck, and then use large rotary saws to cut through a steel door at the back of the shop.
The two are able to cut an opening large enough to squeeze through. They then make off quickly with four e-bikes.
“They stole vehicles very similar to this. These are the off-road electric dirt bikes. They are all the craze right now in Hawaii,” said e-Bike Hawaii’s Jay Bitar.
Each of the bikes retail for five to six thousand dollars or mroe.
“They knew exactly what they wanted because that’s exactly what they went for,” Bitar said.
They’re an enticing target.
“These e-bikes, they’re definitely gaining in popularity and a lot of people are wanting them, and these criminals know — they know that they’ll get a nice chunk of change on the black market if they know where to sell these,’ said Sgt. Chris Kim of Crimestoppers Honolulu.
The break-in is similar to one that took place last December, when thieves rammed the back of a pickup truck to get into Segway of Hawaii, also making off with four bikes.
It’s a type of crime that’s on Crimestoppers Honolulu’s radar.
“We’re actually seeing that they seem to be a lot more orchestrated, they’re definitely working in teams,” said Kim. “It appears they’re planning these things out.”
E-Bikes Hawaii got hit again early Friday morning, as thieves broke through the front door.
“Most of our items are put into our warehouse section, so they couldn’t grab much this time, other than doing thousands of dollars worth of damage here and stealing whatever helmets they could grab,” said Bitar.
Bitar said he was told that the truck used in the heist was stolen, along with the saws.
He’s now spending an extra 30 to 45 minutes at closing time in an effort to make it a lot harder to break in.
“We’re ‘zombie-proofing,’” said Bitar. “At the end of the evening we’re going to back this (forklift) up. We’re almost preparing for war. That’s how it is now, the way it’s happening.”
Bitar’s close-of-business ritual now includes stacking up heavy wooden pallets and parking the company truck as close as he can to the steel door to block it from the outside.
He then backs up the forklift to the door to block it from the inside.
Police are still looking for the suspects.
“People are now coming in an taking what they want,” said a frustrated Bitar. “Almost every week it feels like everyone’s getting hit and there’s no consequences for their actions.”
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