Man steals pricey bike from downtown shop

February 2, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

A man stole a bike worth more than $10,000 from a downtown Issaquah bicycle shop Jan. 29, and then flashed a handgun when a store employee tried to stop him.

The man walked into Veloce Velo, 98 Front St. S., at about 2 p.m. and wandered to a display where the rare, sleek, black-and-silver Pinarello Dogma waited. He eyed the bike, and then moved to the pedal display, where he grabbed pedals — both right-sided pedals, it turned out — and hustled the bike toward the door. When a store employee tried to stop him, the man lifted his jacket to display a handgun tucked in his waistband. The employee backed off.

Issaquah Police Cmdr. Stan Conrad praised store employees for calling police, instead of following the man after he left the store.

Conrad and the store manager said the distinctive bike should be easily tracked if the thief attempts to sell it in the area.

“It’s not quite a Mona Lisa, but it’s easy to track,” store manager Jason Goff said. Only a handful of the bikes were made available in U.S. stores, he continued.

“It’s hard to ride around town with something like that,” Conrad said.

Employees noticed the man at the store the day before the robbery. He browsed bikes, and asked employees for prices. In hindsight, Goff said, the attention the man paid to high-end bikes, and the questions he asked, seemed strange: He asked only about prices.

“They knew what they were looking for,” Goff said.

Conrad said police continued to pursue “several leads” in the case. The high traffic in the store, and the number of people who handle items, made it difficult for investigators to collect fingerprints.

Police said the suspect was a white man in his early 20s, about six feet tall with a thin build, with blond hair and facial hair. He wore a camouflage cap atop a white bandana, and a black jacket. He spoke with a Russian or Eastern European accent.

The robbery was the first at the store since it opened in downtown Issaquah two and a half years ago.

Business continued as usual for the rest of the day, and into the weekend. Goff described Jan. 30 as, coincidentally, “the busiest day of the year” as customers poured into the store to browse and finish bikes.

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