Thieves Steal $100,000 in Demo Bikes from Santa Cruz in Brazen Daytime Robbery


Nearly $100,000 worth of Santa Cruz demo bikes, like this Bronson C from our upcoming Enduro Compare-O bike shootout, were stolen from a locked trailer behind the company’s headquarters last week. Photo by Tyler Frasca.

Thieves cut through a chain link fence, dispatched with padlocks on a demo trailer, and stole nearly $100,000 worth of high-end carbon demo bikes from behind Santa Cruz Bicycles’ west side Santa Cruz, Calif. headquarters between 9 am and 2 pm a week ago Monday.

Santa Cruz demo program driver Eric Highlander posted this photo of the compromised trailer to his Instagram account last week.

The haul included 11 bikes–four Bronson Cs, two 5010 Cs, two Tallboy Cs, and two Blur TRCs, as well as a Juliana Furtado Carbon from the company’s women’s brand, according to Santa Cruz Media and Communications Manager Scott Turner.

All of the bikes are equipped with front and rear Fox Float CTD Kashima suspension, Shimano XT and XTR drivetrains, and Easton carbon handlebars. Most have Enve carbon wheels and Rock Shox Reverb adjustable seatposts.

Turner says that with the exception of a single bike stolen from in front of the building last year, it’s the first time they’ve been hit by thieves. While the building does have security cameras, the theft happened outside of the camera’s view.

A Juliana Furtado Primeiro similar to the one pictured here was one of 11 bikes stolen from Santa Cruz Bicycles last week. Photo courtesy of Santa Cruz Bicycles.

Though the beach town of Santa Cruz is known for good weather, great trails, and is home to several manufacturers and frame builders, it’s also got a well-earned reputation for bike thefts, and the entire Bay Area has seen an uptick in bicycle thefts lately. In nearby San Francisco, for instance, bike advocates have uncovered a chop-shop-style theft ring, and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition reports that bike thefts outnumber mobile phone thefts three-to-one, according to police department statistics.

The company has alerted local shops to be on the lookout for the stolen bikes and are monitoring Craigslist and other online sites for the stolen merchandise.

Santa Cruz Bikes Hires Vicious Guard Dog and Offers Reward on Stolen Demo Bikes »

About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry that landed him at his current gig with Santa Cruz bicycles. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.

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  • Don says:

    On their way to Mexico…

    • Dan Morrison says:

      Why? They’re worth way more in the US and Mexico is pretty far from Santa Cruz. You might be racist…

      • Kjeld Christensen says:

        Yep, on their way to Mexico…”In California, the Border Patrol has repeatedly caught pickup trucks entering Mexico that had been stuffed with high-end bikes stolen in Santa Cruz; drug dealers there take payment in valuable bikes, which they resell to the Mexican elite. ” Outside Magazine…

      • nathan says:

        Dan, why is Don a racist? Is it cause he’s stating the obvious? Do you live in the Bay area? do you know how the mexicans work around here? then keep your racist bullshit comments to yourself!! does that make me a Bully now for saying that….. Pussy

        • Dan Morrison says:

          Nathan, I have some suggestions for you:
          1.) I’m not from the Bay Area, but I know racism. Every crime in the bay area is connected to the Mexican drug mafia in your mind because you’re a racist suffering from confirmation bias.
          2.) Saying “do you know how the mexicans work around here?” is racist but I’ll play along. If I were to generalized how the Mexicans (it’s also good to capitalize proper nouns) work from my experience working for and along side Mexicans, then I’d say tirelessly without complaint.
          3.) My bullshit isn’t racist. Calling someone racist isn’t racist. I think you should get a dictionary.
          4.) Being racist doesn’t make you a bully. It makes you stupid, unlikable, and likely the perceived shortcomings of the culture you disparage are your own personal shortcomings. A bully would have to be someone who’s attempting to intimidate me, and trust me, I am not intimidated by a racist ignoramus talking tough on a comment board.
          5.) Calling people pussies and other such chest thumping bullshit on comment boards is the calling card of a raging coward.

        • B More says:

          Racist whatever, must be a cal berk guy Im sure they will show in parts, did you forget about Colorado?The market is huge here for parts what you find on craigs is amazing,good bet inside or an associate type theft. Dont underestimate plain old human greed for a good deal, used to live in portland or, again market is huge for quality parts Cal is hardly the only game in around, as far as racist Odele keep pumpin the pedals

      • Lee says:

        People that bring up racism is the real racist !!! I hope the truth hurts.

      • Brian Leach says:

        While they are worth more in the US, it would be near impossible to unload them in the US without getting caught. The majority of the people interested in bikes of this caliber have likely heard this story, including every shop. This cache of bikes likely aren’t worth much to the thieves as bikes, and Mexico will likely be a safer place for them to trade / sell. The close geographic proximity is a big factor as well.

        Race of the humans involved with the theft probably wasn’t a motivator in Don’s comment.

      • Neez says:

        You’ve been watching too much MSNBC. Pull out the racecard for just about anything.

  • K.W says:

    I’m sure they have insurance and besides, these bikes only cost the company prolly 150 bucks or so . Thieves are scum of the earth though and there should be mandatory prison terms for even petty theft.

  • Motor Cycle says:

    somethings fishy here…happened to be Out Of Camera Range??? Hmmmmm.

  • MissedThePoint says:

    Hope they got insurance

  • Will says:

    So many horrible people out there these days. Sucks to hear it.

  • MaryP says:

    When searching CL and other sales ads, don’t look only at Santa Cruz ads. Those who are smarter that market stolen bikes and components will list an item, say Specialized Epic Expert or S-Works here, that is equivalent in value, make, model, and year. They’ll also list the photos of that same bike (either taken from a website or someone elses ad). You, the prospective buyer, respond to the ad via email and are then told that item has, unfortunately, been sold … but I also have this really cool Santa Cruz TallBoy C for sale. Hope this helps the Santa Cruz company get their bikes back.

  • joolian says:

    My guess is it’s more likely on their way to OR, WA, CO, AZ, TX or B.C.

    Profit margin on a $9k bike sold at retail direct from factory is 50%. Via dealer it’s a 15/35 split. $4500 materials and labor went into that $9k bike – SC is frames only. And of course they’re insured. Maybe not after making the claim (and being silly enough to park the trailer out of camera view), but…

    Racist? Dunno – maybe more like Realist considering every major organized bike theft ring that has been busted in SC over the years had ties to mexican gangs in W-ville or Salinas…

  • Andrea says:

    “We often get reports from border patrol about pickup trucks full of stolen bikes caught en route to Mexico. Probably 20 to 30 percent of Santa Cruz’s missing bikes end up there,” Goodwin says.

    This is super sucky news.

  • Wheeler says:

    Inside job?

  • andrew says:

    Sounds like an inside job!!!! Daytime, out of sight of cameras….location…knowledge of upcoming demo..put it together

  • Frank Moir says:

    These frames are closer then you think and they are not SC Bike employee’s. I work at Spyder Carbon repair and we were hit last year for about 60k in customers bikes, this was the same year the BMC demo fleet was liberated along with the Specialized van being cleaned out.

    Due to the lack of response from the rodeo clowns (Santa Cruz Sheriff and PD) we decided to track down the thieves ourselves. As it turns out the thieves were well known in the local bike community but took a turn down the crystal meth highway. Since they don’t sleep they have days to think of capers.

    After a few months of hard work we caught one of the thief’s, drove him to the Demo forest and zip-tied his skinny ass to a tree. This is where he gave up all of his buddies. With the information in hand we called the Sheriff to pass along this information, and where they can find this guy. With his cell phone in hand we tracked all of our stolen gear to Fresno, Santa Barbara and a house in Monterey, we also found some Specialized & BMC bikes that were probably the missing bikes.

    We recovered all of our stolen merchandise and passed all of the information to the Sheriff with names, address’s and cell numbers. Open and shut, what did the Sheriff and the DA do…nothing. These guys are still among us, they know the Police in SC are inept, these guys were cyclist and know how we think.

  • Jeroen says:

    Even though they might be insured, I don’t think their insurer will cover the costs. It happened out of camera’s view, so the insurer can’t get proof with which they can try to find the thieves.

  • xema says:

    Por los datos expuestos el robo apunta que fué bien planificado. Posiblemente los propios trabajadores de la empresa. O personas con acceso a la información de la empresa. Muy posiblemente esas bicicletas saldrán del país para la reventa en el extranjero a precio interesante o su posible despieze al mercado de segundamano. Atentos los compradores, comprar con factura es una garantía que el producto es legal y si es en tienda oficial mejor.

  • Phil says:

    Frank – great story. Glad you got your gear back and I’m not surprised to hear about the cops lack of enthusiasm. It seems like the burden is on the owner to protect their property, as usual. Very surprised to hear Santa Cruz left those bikes in that location. If anyone out there works at Santa Cruz or is in a position to follow this up, it will be interesting to hear it.

  • chasejj says:

    Some dude will be smoking a cigarette and riding a $9000 bike to Home Depot to wait for a day labor pickup in Socal any day.
    Nobody he knows will think his bike is worth more than the Diamondback they are riding. Just that the name is Santa Cruz,so cool.

    • Joel says:

      Why does it have to be a day laborer or Mexico , there are thieves to be found in all ethnicitys and walks of life. For all we know it could have been your mom stealing trying to get her fix.

  • rob says:

    couple of Santa Cruz bikes for sale on uk eBay only come on recently and one description is a bit odd

  • MTBDad says:

    Thieves come in every color and from every economic background. Nobody should be pointing fingers toward any one race.
    Yes bikes have been priced way beyond the reach of many of the population but does any business deserve to be victimized? If we want to see prices lower then vote by refusing to pay the crazy prices.
    I refuse to spend the amounts out there now. Still on an HT Alum frame that I replace every couple yrs and just upgrade parts when they are shot. If your not racing who needs a 8K plus 24lbs FS bike. My 2500. HT weighs less and I enjoy it thoroughly !

  • Lee says:

    Sounds like we need to send Dan & Joel to Mexico. They don’t belong here!!!

  • EVOLVE109 says:

    Start looking for guy with “Bicycle Inequality” syndrome, and coexist stickers….Just doing personal redistribution of wealth program….Makes me sick.

  • Tim C says:

    That sucks, but SC is not out $100K prolly less than half that wholesale esp for used demo bikes. Carbon bikes suck anyway and only owned by the 1%.

  • qweqweq says:

    ride it like u stole it

  • Dan says:

    It was a burlgary, damn it, not a robbery. When will journalists learn the difference

  • Anonymous says:

    Grammer Police!

    You can’t rob a trailer, you can only rob a person. Just as you don’t rob a house, you burglarize it.

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s a Grand Larceny.

  • Codypup says:

    I didn’t read all the comments, but was I the only one to notice that ebay had Santa Cruz demo bikes last week, with no local pick up allowed? I assumed these were going out the front door of Santa Cruz, but…

  • Jethro says:

    Does anyone have a demo bike for sale cheap? JK

  • I'mRight says:

    My favorite:”you try loading and unloading a demo fleet twice a week” let’s talk to the person with that job, maybe they snapped.

  • smcguin says:

    Wow, so many conspiracy theorists. The simple fact is 11 demo bikes from one of the most respected & desired mountain bike manufactures has been stolen. Santa Cruz is NOT a huge multinational conglomerate, but a small boutique specialist that produces a sizable number of frames by hand & distributes them world wide. I cycle & I mountain bike. I ride on a minimal budget & yet I’ve had 2 bikes stolen. $4500 Australian total in 6 years. No matter what budget you can afford, bicycle thieves have small penises. Who ever stole these bikes was most likely just another scum bag that knew exactly what he was stealing. Most of them do. As for Santa Cruz, those bikes would have little re-sale value. They may even have been ear marked as gifts to employees. Who knows. Extract craniums from sphincters people. It is what it is. Common larceny, by thieves with small penises.

  • Riley says:

    So the entire inventory of Julianna bike”s” is now gone!!! Out of cameras view? Reevaluate your security system & vendor.
    During business hours??? Wtf

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