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When the smoke cleared, Houston shop gets lucky after smash-and-grab

Published May 28, 2021
Fog comes to the war against smash-and-grabs. With mixed results.

MISSOURI CITY, Texas (BRAIN) — A smoke deterrent didn't prevent a smash-and-grab at a Houston area bike shop early Sunday morning, but it clearly gave retailer Fred Rebollido some notoriety after a local TV news report about the incident.

"The piece aired (Wednesday night) at 6 o'clock, and then it re-aired (Thursday morning), then we threw it up on Facebook, so I'm getting inundated with calls," said Rebollido, who owns Sugar Cycles in Missouri City. "I got some guy trying to sell me 3M (security) film for the glass."

After being hit twice by smash-and-grab breakins in the past year, Rebollido followed the lead of another victimized bike shop nearby and had a motion-activated security smoke deterrent installed to complement his existing alarm system. When activated, the smoke deterrent dispenses fog to fill a room in 30-second bursts.

"I was hoping it would slow them down," Rebollido said. "But I was hoping more that it would stop them. In the end, it still didn't stop them. There's some tweaks that need to happen."

Until then, he'll welcome some luck. And Rebollido received some when the three men who broke through the front door and exited with 16 new bikes were spotted by an off-duty police officer as they loaded their U-Haul truck. The three were arrested and face multiple charges, including burglary and engaging in organized criminal activity.

"They literally got all the new bikes on the floor," said Rebollido, who added they were valued at at total of $50,000. "So if they had gotten those, we literally would have been out, I don't know how long, without bikes" because of the industry supply shortage.

He said none of the bikes had any significant damage, other than a few nicks and scratches. "I actually sold one yesterday (Thursday) with a nice little scratch on the toptube. A took 150 bucks off it. He was happy."

After being hit for the third time in the past year, Rebollido clearly isn't happy being a repeat target, along with two other nearby shops, Society Cycle Works and Pearland Bicycles.

"I'm 95% sure it's some syndicate or bigger crime ring," he said. "It's not just local guys stealing bikes. They steal as much as they can and get it in a market where they can sell it because it's not staying local."

Sugar Cycles was first burglarized last June, with entry made through the front door, and about $55,000-$60,000 in bikes taken, including some customer bikes. After that, Rebollido began cable-locking bikes together. Then in December, a similar burglary occurred with about the same dollar loss. Theives used angle grinders to cut through the cable locks.

Video: See report.

Security video screen shot from TV report.
Topics associated with this article: Smash and Grab

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