A shipping container full of donated bikes destined for Africa was stolen out of a charity organization’s parking lot over the weekend.
The theft occurred in Navato, California and was caught on camera.
A semi truck was driven into the lot of Mike’s Bikes Foundation and was captured on surveillance video loading up the container and driving away with it, taking the 500 donated bikes with it.
“We pieced together over a few days. My gosh, the entire container has been stolen. The container, all the bikes inside, all gone,” said Mike’s Bikes CEO Ken Martin to KRON 4 News.
“It felt like a punch to the gut. completely devastating that all of the work we put in this container, all of our donors who have given their personal bikes to this foundation now everything was gone.”
Martin and his team had collected the 500 bikes from all across northern California and were preparing them for shipment to Africa, where they would be given to small bike shop owners to repair and resell at an affordable price.
“The difference a bicycle can make in the life of someone who doesn’t have one or in the life of your everyday African who doesn’t have the things like freedom of movement and mobility that we just take for granted here,” Martin explained.
Martin says that the criminals must have been plotting the theft, as they had a semi truck to haul away the container, but says he doesn’t believe they knew the bikes were used and some in need of repair.
“It was not a crime of opportunity. Somebody knew they were coming there to get a container. they drove a semi-truck there with the intention of attaching a trailer and container to the semi-truck. They knew exactly what they were doing.”
Since then, the container full of bikes was discovered abandoned by the Concord Police Department, and police say they believe the semi truck used to complete the job is also stolen. Anyone with information is urged to contact Novato Police.