A Bristol cyclist who has been the victim of six burglaries – two of those within four months – believes he is being deliberately targeted by bike thieves.
Jose Velazquez, who mountain bikes in the popular Leigh Woods, and rides to raise money for Bristol Children’s Hospital, has lost more than £10,000 of road and mountain bikes to theft in total, while thieves leave his wife’s and daughter’s bikes behind.
Velazquez secures his bikes with a D-lock inside a locked garage but he says bike thieves seem to wait for him to replace the stolen machines before striking again. He believes they may be targeting riders using apps like Strava.
Velazquez told the Bristol Post: “I have always locked my bike up. But the police said with the right tools people will be able to get in.
"My bike is insured and it looks as though they have seen it has been replaced and then come to steal the newest version."
In 2012 Avon and Somerset Police said thieves were targeting riders in Ashton Court and Leigh Woods, to find out who had expensive bikes that were worth stealing. At the time, PC Greig Difford was quoted by the Post saying: "There were 28 such incidents in March 2012, where bicycles have been taken from homes in Bristol.
"The owners of these bikes had been cycling in the Leigh Woods or Ashton Court area in the weeks leading up to the theft. Leigh Woods and Ashton Court now attracts many cyclists as it was voted the 'best inner city mountain bike trail in the country' and we are keen to put a stop to these thefts and bring the offenders to justice.
"Some of the bikes stolen have been worth up to £5,000 and we have increased patrols in the area."
Last year police in Bristol arrested five people following a year-long investigation into criminal gangs involved in bike theft.