Security video captured the moment thieves ransacked an Irwindale bicycle shop and escaped with around $40,000 worth of merchandise.
Owners of Irwindale Cycles located on Arrow Highway said the brazen burglary was planned and the thieves knew exactly what they were looking for.
The break-in happened in the early morning hours of Aug. 28. Five masked suspects were seen breaking into the shop through the back door using an angle grinder to cut through the steel security gate.
They then head directly to the most expensive bikes in the store.
Some of the stolen bikes include Bianchis, which cost over $1,700 each, along with other high-end brands, the owners said.
“I couldn’t believe what’s happening,” said Norma Corlindres, co-owner of Irwindale Cycles.
Norma and her husband, Walter, have been in business for more than two decades, pouring their life savings into their business which has grown to become a popular shop among avid local cyclists.
“It’s difficult to see the videos, for me a lot,” Norma said. “So many years working. For us, building this business took us 23 years. It’s painful.”
“I feel very very sad because I know a lot of people come here,” Walter said.
As a family-owned shop, the devastating theft has left the owners on the brink of permanent closure. The couple doesn’t know how they will recover from the immense damage and loss of inventory.
“We see all the damage,” Walter said. “My friend came and asked me, ‘Do you think you will survive all of this?’ I said, ‘I don’t think so.’”
“Walter and Norma are absolute family,” said customer Christel Sayegh. “The thought of them going out of business is just devastating for anyone who comes here.”
Sayegh is one of the many loyal customers who care deeply about Norma and Walter. The couple have mentored local cyclists for years and their shop is a gathering place for the community.
Just hours after the burglary, photos sent to Sayegh by another customer showed two men riding the Metro A-Line with several brand-new, expensive bikes from Irwindale Cycles with price tags still attached. One of the price tags labeled the bike as a Bianchi Vi Nirone priced at $1,799.
The photos were taken on Aug. 28 around 5:30 a.m. as the men exited the train at the Memorial Park station in Pasadena. Police are aware of the images but said they have not confirmed whether those men are indeed suspects.
Despite the painful loss, the couple said they’re grateful for the outpouring of support from their local community.
“I really believe in good people,” Norma said. “I know there are more good people than bad people. Thanks to everybody who supports us. We didn’t expect it. Love is something. It’s a strong, strong power.”
The owners are also hoping someone will recognize the suspects so they can be caught before they burglarize another local business.
Community members are planning a group bike ride to support the shop, but a date for the ride has not yet been set.
A GoFundMe set up to help Irwindale Cycles recover from the theft is available here.