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Chicago Crime Wave Is Hitting Small Businesses Hard; Bucktown Bike Shop Was Hit Twice Within Weeks

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The crime plaguing Chicago has taken a toll on businesses - especially small business owners.

As CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot reported Monday, thieves broke into BFF Bikes at 2056 N. Damen Ave. in Bucktown two different times nearly two weeks apart. One of the windows is boarded up – for the second time.

On surveillance video, an alarm is heard blaring while thieves jump out of a broken window a the bike shop. Moments later, one man is seen running down the sidewalk while rolling a bike, followed by a second man doing the same with two bikes - before he heads into a church courtyard.

"They went for the more expensive bikes," said BFF Bikes owner Gillian Forsyth. "They kind of knew what they were looking for."

Forsyth says her business was broken into on Nov. 30 and Dec. 13 between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. - in broad daylight.

"It's frightening. It's really frightening," Forsyth said. "They ran off down the alley next to the church here, and you can see them put the bikes in their car - and they just drove off."

Forsyth said the crime wave she and other bike shop owners have experienced has been overwhelming.

"When we're like, as a small business, worried about constantly being robbed like that - we're very easy to break into - and we're not getting any response," Forsyth said, "and I'm not blaming the police or anything - I'm sure they have a multitude of cases. There were five bike shops broken into in the space of two or three weeks. There doesn't seem to be a collaborative effort, to solve this problem."

The out-of-pocket expense to repair the window a second time for Forsyth is $1,000. The total cost of the five bikes that were stolen is about $15,000. The average cost of each bike stolen was close to $3,000.

Forsyth says if someone is selling a bike like this for a few hundred dollars, buyers should know, the bike is probably stolen, and police have the serial numbers.

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