BATON ROUGE — A non-profit bike shop on Government Street has lost thousands of dollars after more than a dozen bikes were stolen multiple times.
Front Yard Bikes is known for mentoring children in the Capital Region. However, in the month of January alone, they say their establishment has been robbed five times. Broken doors, windows and glass litter the floors of some areas of the old church they use as their center of operations.
At least 15 Retrospec bicycles were stolen from the building. The loss, totaling more than $4,000, but founder Dustin LaFont says that wasn’t even the biggest challenge.
“More, unfortunately, is the loss of peace of mind and rest,” LaFont said. “Having to deal with an unfortunate issue that doesn’t allow you to be your best, especially when we’re trying to do programs with our youth and other elements. We’ve certainly been distracted from being the best kind of program what we want to be.”
Now he’s asking for the community’s help in keeping an eye out for stolen bikes, which could be sold at nearby pawnshops.
“If you see some of the bikes that are in the description on Instagram and you see them being sold in pawn shops or elsewhere, let us know. We just know how to communicate to members of our community, ‘Hey, this are stolen stuff, let’s try to put a stop to it,” LaFont said.
In the meantime, LaFont is focused on cleaning up the mess and getting back to work: teaching the city’s youngsters how to fix bikes and keeping the youngsters out of trouble.
“While it’s a very unfortunate issue, it doesn’t define us and it’s not something we’re going to live in,” LaFont said. “We are not going to let this deprive us of the good daily work and joys of our amazing children all over the city.
Anyone with information about the theft is encouraged to call law enforcement. LaFont also mentioned that the catalytic converter was stolen from their community transport van earlier this month.
Front Yard Bikes also accepts donations of bikes or support at any time.