Thief fakes test ride, makes off with $5,000 bicycle from Costa Mesa cycling shop

COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) -- Staff at The Cyclist said they never expected to hand their most expensive bike - worth $5,000 - to a man who took off with it.

The general manager of the family-owned and operated business, Anthony Karambellas, said the suspect walked in Tuesday afternoon and passed himself off as a cycling enthusiast.

"He knew very, very well about the high-end components that these bikes had. He knew all the buzz words. He knew the high-end brands. He was very unassuming," Karambellas said.

As was store policy, Karambellas asked for I.D. and let the suspect take the bike for a test ride in the lot - or so he thought.

Cameras outside a neighboring business caught the man taking a couple laps, then he sped off.

"Against oncoming traffic. He was outta here," Karambellas said.

Karambellas said the BH bike was rare in the states, but Karambellas said Wednesday morning, it was likely already in pieces to be sold for parts.

Karambellas said he just wanted to get the word out.

"With the last two months of rain that we've had here, it has been really, really tough on our business along with everybody else in our industry. So we're just going to have to bite the bullet and hope for the best," Karambellas said.

Cyclist Dan Martens hoped crime didn't scare off family-owned businesses.

"Make it harder for these small shops to stay in business, but the small shops have the best service," Martens said.

While detectives with the Costa Mesa Police Department investigated, the store's owner offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest or the bike's return.

Management was considering a change in policy to allow test rides moving forward, such as requiring a security deposit.

Anyone with information on this theft can contact Costa Mesa PD detectives at (714) 754-5205.
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