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Family-owned Colorado tennis and pickleball store falls victim to string of thefts

Pickleball and tennis store thefts.jpg
Posted at 8:26 AM, Feb 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-19 10:26:04-05

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A 35-year-old family-owned Colorado business suffered a string of thefts over a two-week period. Game Set Match has three locations in Colorado: Denver, Centennial and Boulder. All three of their stores were hit by two groups of thieves.

Cameras at the stores saw a man and woman enter and steal several Pickleball paddles. Another group of thieves - three women - also stole the paddles by hiding them under their shawls and dresses.

Family-owned Colorado tennis and pickleball store falls victim to string of thefts

Owner Adam Burbary decried the thefts, which cost them an estimated $20,000-30,000.

"It's unbelievable," Burbary said. "We experienced almost 120 Pickleball paddles stolen at this point, plus some other products taken.”

Burbary estimated the value of each paddle between $200-300, making them difficult to replace. Burbary began to notice the thefts after his local managers saw discrepancies in their counts. The paddles' high price tags means they don't have many in stock at each store, so their absence was notable.

Cameras picked up the thefts, with the most recent happening on Feb 16. Burbary notified the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department on Feb. 17. The sheriff's office has assigned an investigator to the case.

"We had to move all our paddles," Burbary said.

To prevent future thefts, Burbary moved all the Pickleball paddles closer to the store counters and placed tennis rackets in their stead. Although the tennis rackets could also be taken, their larger size makes it difficult for thieves to escape the stores without being noticed.

Additionally, Burbary has implemented a new policy at the stores to have staff threading rackets near their more expensive merchandise - a move he wished didn't have to be made.

Family-owned Game Set Match in Colorado experienced a string of thefts, costing them over $20,000
Family-owned Game Set Match in Colorado experienced a string of thefts, costing them over $20,000.

The biggest thing is my disappointment in humanity right now," Burbary said. "I don't want to treat you any differently, I want you to come to the shop and enjoy what we do."

Denver7 asked the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office if they've seen any other documented thefts at this time, but they aren't aware at this time if other businesses were impacted.