Brazen thieves caught on camera breaking into Sarasota motorcycle dealership

Brazen thieves caught on camera breaking into Sarasota motorcycle dealership

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — A group of thieves used some brazen methods to break into a Sarasota motorcycle dealership on Wednesday morning.

At around 4:30 am on Wednesday, surveillance cameras at Hap’s Cycle were rolling as a white pickup parked in the lot in the darkness.

Suddenly, a group of thieves emerged and started peering through the windows. As motorists passed nearby, the cameras captured the thieves ducking for cover, so they wouldn’t be seen.

They then continue to look around the building. Co-owner Robert Poneleit said in recent years he’s stepped up security in the front of the dealership, for example, placing shutters on windows, a stronger alarm system and stronger doors.

But the crooks decided to break in through the back.

Poneleit said, “[We] weren’t counting the back of our building which was the weak point. And obviously they’ve been in our shop investigating what’s the easiest way to do this.”

The crooks used the truck to drive right through a fence. Poneleit continued, “Then they backed straight in…and smashed that door right into our shop.”

The crooks destroyed a garage door and damaged the building and several bikes inside.

“Once that alarm went off in 3 minutes, they were gone,” he said.

They then stole two dirt bikes. One was a collectible owned by Poneleit, the other was a customer’s bike.

“They did $14,000 to $16,000 worth of damage to our building and our property to steal $4,000 worth of dirt bikes. If they just come and ask me I woulda wrote them a check or gave it to them,” said Poneleit.

He believes the crooks had likely visited before and were familiar with the dealership. Poneleit said dirt bikes are difficult to track and they can be easily shipped out of the country. He’s also learned of other dealerships throughout the state who were broken into in a similar fashion.

Poneleit is angry and hopes these crooks can be caught.

He said, “I’m not afraid of anybody. I’m a motorcycle rider, you throw pie in my face, I’m gonna throw one right back at ya. But let’s do it on equal ground, don’t be a criminal and sneak behind my back and steal my stuff, come see me. If you want to fight a fight, let’s fight a fight.”

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