Suspects nabbed in brazen burglary

A smashed window is shown at the Family Cycling Center in Capitola where two suspects made off with several expensive bikes early Thursday. — Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

CAPITOLA — Two men are in custody and a cache of expensive stolen bikes are back in the owner’s hands following a dramatic smash-and-grab burglary early Thursday.

The incident began around 6 a.m. when the suspects broke a large windowpane at the front of Family Cycling Center on 41st Avenue in Capitola. An alert witness saw the commotion and called 911. When Sheriff’s deputies arrived moments later they spotted a U-HAUL racing east on 41st, the van described by the witness, said Sgt. Dee Baldwin.

As the van raced onto southbound Highway 1 the Sheriff’s deputies began a high-speed chase that topped out at 90 mph. The suspects exited the highway in Aptos and sped toward Huntington Drive. That’s where they abandoned the van and took off on foot.

Deputies were then joined by officers from the California Highway Patrol in setting up a perimeter near the Polo Grounds. Baldwin said that within 90 minutes the suspects were rounded up and taken into custody.

“All six high-end mountain bikes were recovered and returned to the owners,” Baldwin said.

Several of the bikes were located inside the abandoned van.

Kristen Romero, sales for Family Cycling, said the store has been hit four times in the past year and that Thursday’s burglary marked the first time the products were recovered. The stolen bikes were placed at a value of around $30,000. A seventh bike was also stolen but left behind at the rear of the shop.

“We’re so pleased by the quick response by police,” she said.

Baldwin said that a CHP officer was injured during the foot pursuit and was taken to the hospital. Baldwin added that he expected the officer to be released later in the day.

Several burglary tools were also recovered during the investigation.

The suspects face felony commercial burglary charges and with the CHP officer being injured, there could be further charges.

No names or information about where they are from or where they rented the U-HAUL was released.

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