Non-profit bike shop broken into five times in the month of January
BATON ROUGE - A non-profit bike shop on Government Street is out thousands of dollars after more than a dozen bikes were stolen on several different occasions.
Front Yard Bikes is known for mentoring children in the capital area. However, in the month of January alone, they say their facility has been broken into five times. Broken doors, windows, and glass litter the floors in certain areas of the old church they use as their center of operation.
At least 15 Retrospec bikes were stolen from the building. The loss, totaling more than $4,000, but founder Dustin LaFont says that hasn't even been the biggest challenge.
"More, unfortunately, is the loss of peace of mind and rest," LaFont said. "Having to deal with an unfortunate issue that doesn't allow you to be your best, especially when we're trying to do programs with our youth and other elements. We've definitely been distracted from being the best quality type of program we want to be."
Now, he's asking for the community's help with keeping an eye out for the stolen bikes, which could be sold in nearby pawn shops.
"If you see some of the bikes that are in the description on Instagram and you see that they're being sold at pawn shops or other places, give us a heads up. We only know how to communicate to our community members, 'Hey, that's stolen stuff, let's try to put an end to that,'" LaFont said.
In the meantime, LaFont is focused on cleaning up the mess and getting back to work: teaching the city's youth how to fix bikes and keeping the youngsters out of trouble.
"While this is a very unfortunate problem, it doesn't define us and it's not something we're going to live in," LaFont said. "We're not going to let it rob us from the day-to-day good work and joys of our amazing kids all over the city.
Anyone with information on the theft is encouraged to call law enforcement. LaFont also mentioned the catalytic converter was stolen out of their community transport van earlier this month.
Front Yard Bikes is also accepting donations of bikes or support at all times.
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