COLORADO SPRINGS — You’ve probably seen all the white and purple e-bikes around downtown Colorado Springs. The police department is now investigating the theft and damage of thousands of dollars of those bikes.
The nonprofit organization that provides the bikes to the community is called PikeRide. The executive director for the nonprofit says they believe it's a homeless man who's involved in stealing and damaging the bikes, which has cost them more than $17,000.
Some e-bikes have been painted different so they're not recognizable, while others have been taken apart.
“This guy has taken a crowbar to our bikes, and then just takes the parts apart, and not really using the bike,” said Jolie Nesmith, the executive director.
Nesmith says this has been going on for about two months, and they think it's only the one man who's involved.
“One of the last times we had an interaction with him, he held up a piece of metal pipe and threatened our staff member at the same time,” said Nesmith.
Nesmith says they get an alert when a bike has been stolen or is being used for something other than riding. Using a GPS tracker on the bike, they've been able to find the suspect and talk to him. But they haven't had luck in stopping him from damaging more bikes.
“It's been confusing. We've offered this guy to get him his own bike. We’ve offered to get him a bike with his own lock,” said Nesmith. “We've offered all sorts of things, but being able to reason with him was never something that was proving to provide any source of termination to the problem.”
Last month, there were more than 10,000 trips using PikeRide.
So far,12 bikes have been damaged beyond repair costing around $2,300 per bike, with an average trip anywhere from two to three miles.
Nesmith says, they've had to remove all the bikes from certain hubs around the city, in hopes they can prevent more theft and damages from happening.
“The impact runs wide. It’s not just the financial impact to a small nonprofit but to our staff, to the public, to everybody involved,” said Nesmith.
The organization has filed police reports with Colorado Springs Police Department. A spokesperson with CSPD says they are now investigating the case, but they couldn't provide further comment.
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