- Bike theft is nothing unusual. But criminal networks are now targeting components in transit.
- After having a truck intercepted by criminals, a European bicycle brand suffered the loss of its valueble Shimano shipment in late January.
- With demand for bikes remaining strong and component prices rising, criminal networks recognise new opportunities.
Germany authorities have revealed the details of an audacious cycling component crime.
In a daring and meticulously planned robbery, a truck driver transporting Shimano parts was attacked while at a rest stop in Germany.
Assailants gassed the driver, incapacitating him, before clearing out the truck’s cargo hold. The cargo manifest included Shimano brake system, derailleurs, Di batteries and a selection of e-bike components, to the value of approximately R4.7m.
Not a random crime
The truck was journeying to Bike Fun International, a brand in the Czech Republic, with a cargo of Shimano parts.
Bicycle components are in very short supply, making them a target for sophisticated criminal networks.
After completing the robbery, criminals discharged a fire extinguisher into the truck’s cargo area to nullify traces of fingerprint evidence.
A worrying first encounter
Bike Fun International supply chain director, Petr Krkoska, sees a year delay as the likely outcome of this heist.
"This will delay production of some models by almost a year, as there is no alternative on the market for many of the parts from this shipment."
"We haven't seen this situation before. Even Shimano has not faced a targeted robbery of any shipment on a similar scale. We hope that due to the shortage of parts, these cases will not be repeated, because despite all the measures we have set up, no insurance cover can compensate us for the loss and especially the reputation for late delivery."