Jones Bicycles of Belmont Shore has used social media before to catch their only other thieves. And the community rallied and tracked down local youths who bolted down the stairs with $100 skateboards last year.
So when a trio of bandits brazenly rolled $5,000 in bikes right out the front door before the Thursday lunch rush was over, the Long Beach institution put the surveillance footage on YouTube and its Facebook page.
Watch as three men enter and appear to case the shop.
"Looking at it now, you can tell they knew what they were doing, and had done it before somewhere," Jones store manager Steven Davis said Monday.
"It was busy but they came in right at a shift change, so it was something where I was helping somebody and the other sales person on the floor was talking to one of the three guys, who was the distraction," Davis said. "It was well-played, they knew what they were doing."
Two bikes were positioned near the door, and then rolled very quickly out. In seconds they were gone. "One was a Giant road bike and the other was a racing BMX youth bike," Davis said. "I would say the BMX was $525 and the road bike was around $4,500."
The video grabs show the suspects' faces quite clearly.
Had such a brazen theft happened before? Davis said just once, about a year ago. The store is mostly filled on the ground floor with bicycles, and then up a wide staircase in the center of the shop are more bikes, kiddy specialty vehicles, and an array of skateboards.
"These younger kids about a year ago came running downstairs with boards in hand and went flying out the door and we went right after them," recalled Davis of the boys who were 15 and 16 years old. But they were gone. Jones Bicycle posted its surveillance camera footage on Facebook.
"We had a really good turnout of people who knew the kids, we got the boards back, and talked to the (kids') family, talked to the kids, [and] one of the kids' youth pastor," Davis said. "We didn't press charges but the family definitely came in and apologized and said they were gonna take care of it. We let them; the boards themselves were like $100.... We put it on Facebook, and got a very local response, and thats what we also hoped when we put the pictures online this time."
Watch the YouTube video and if you recognize any of the suspects, call and report it to Long Beach Police Department, 562-435-6711.
Have you ever bought a bike at Jones? Tell us in comments.