Bike thief targeting Sarasota condo owners

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A prolific bike bandit is making the rounds in Sarasota. He has expensive tastes, hitting only downtown area high-rise condos. So far, he’s taken at least six bikes by getting into ground floor garages.

Signs at the Essex House overlooking Sarasota Bay warn “24 hour surveillance,” and it’s true. Cameras are everywhere, and they caught a guy stealing two bikes in the parking garage.

“I feel secure in our building. I feel secure in Sarasota. Unfortunately, people like this pop up from time to time and it’s a sad commentary on life,” said Essex House resident, Marty Varano.

The bike heists started in late April. Slithering like a snake, the thief made his way under a garage gate at the Rivo at Ringling. He left with two bikes.

Three weeks later, with shorter hair, he guided another bike down the steps.

It’s possible that an easy lift of the garage gate likely provided access.

Ten days after that, he hit Essex House for the two for one. Then later, he hit next door neighbor Embassy House, where he walked out with an 18-speed bike, then ducked under the gate to get away.

Essex House resident Tina Gomez watched the video of the thief stealing from one of her neighbors.

“It’s very upsetting knowing a stranger, somebody who doesn’t live there, is getting into our bikes and into our garage,” said Gomez.

Many residents store their bikes in rows in the garage. That’s ripe pickings for a thief.

Essex House management posted a sign, warning of the recent thefts.

Avid bike rider Kari Imhof said it looks like the bike owners did the right thing.

“You’d think if you lock your bike up, you’re in an enclosed area, there’s cameras everywhere, you think it’s safe. But, this guy just literally just rode the bike out of there,” said Imhof.

Sarasota police are hoping the video caught on security cameras gets this guy locked up before he takes any more bicycles.

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