WAUKEGAN, IL (BRAIN)—The owners of Midwest Bicycles & Billiards are asking cyclists, collectors and retailers to be on the lookout for a number of vintage BMX bikes and parts stolen in a break-in at the Waukegan, Illinois, shop this month.
On the night of Nov. 9, one or more thieves pried open Midwest’s back door and erected a 12-foot-high privacy fence to conceal their activity, said Dion Markodonis, who runs the shop with his father, Von. Only BMX bikes and parts from the late 1970s and early ’80s—no new bikes—were taken.
Markodonis said he and his father had collected the items since they began planning to open Midwest in 1979. An estimated $25,000 to $30,000 in bikes was taken. The loss in parts is more difficult to quantify. “It’s been hard figuring out what all we had. We’ve been hoarding this stuff since 1979,” Markodonis said, adding that the thief or thieves probably took “enough parts to build about 25 more bikes, and most of them were rare. It’s a pretty serious hit to us.” He estimates the parts loss at upwards of $20,000.
Bikes taken include a 1979 GJS race bike, 1983 CW Phase 1, 1980 Mongoose Teen Goose, 1979 Thruster Vanishing Point, 1987 Haro, 1985 GT Pro Performer and a 1980s Cinelli MX-1. “You don’t see many Cinelli BMX bikes around,” Markodonis noted. Parts—some in their original boxes—include ’70s and ’80s Bullseye cranks, Phil Wood hubs, prototype Kingsbury Power Discs, Pro Neck stems and Cook Bros. Racing hubs.
Markodonis said he has alerted several Chicagoland shops about the theft, and forum members at website BMXMuseum.com, where pictures of many of his vintage bikes have been posted over the years, have lent a hand by gathering $1,500 in donations to reward anyone with information leading to an arrest.
The international BMX collector community also is on alert, noted Markodonis. “It’s like stealing artwork,” he said. “If any of it pops up anywhere, I’ve got people in Belgium, Japan, Australia, all over the place. Thousands of people are out there looking for us.”
Midwest Bicycles & Billiards can be reached at (847) 249-5670.
Photo: This 1980s Cinelli BMX bike was among the items stolen from Midwest Bicycles & Billiards this month.