Toronto bicycle manufacturer loses prototype to speedy thief

He was in and out in about a minute.

A speedy thief pulled up to the entrance of a niche Toronto bicycle manufacturing company, threw a brick through the glass front door, walked through the frame,  found what he wanted and drove off in his vehicle with the prize.

What did the thief steal, exactly?

“They stole our Number Five prototype,” said Frank Gairdner, co-founder of Bridge Bike Works.

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The company, founded near the start of the pandemic, will soon produce Canadian-made carbon-fibre bicycle frames.

The finished models will be assembled on its premises and will sell for between $9,000 and $16,000.

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Gairdner was alerted by an alarm company early Monday morning soon after the break-in was detected.

“Police were there (at the building) with guns drawn,” Gairdner said.

But the perpetrator was long gone, along with the prototype.

Based on how quickly the thief got in and out, it’s possible he knew exactly what he wanted and where to look to find it.

Gairdner agrees there’s a reasonably good chance the thief had previously been in the building and had taken one of the tours open to the public.

“One of our strategies is to bring people in and open show how the bikes are made,” Gairdner told Global News in an interview.

Security video from Bridge Bike Works and neighbours shows a male entering the building and leaving with the bicycle, loaded into the back of a mid-sized SUV.

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“He showed up with no mask, no anything — he barged in, got right out in under a minute,” said Gairdner, who spent the day reviewing videos.

But none appears to show the licence plate of the getaway vehicle or the face of the man who threw the brick and took the bicycle prototype, which is worth several thousand dollars.

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Gairdner isn’t sure whether someone would want the bicycle for its intellectual property value, or to attempt to resell its components.

Either way, the prototype bicycle is gone. And, if it’s up for sale somewhere now, it will be the only one with the Bridge Bike Works name on it.

Its colour is distinctive, too — the company calls it Aged Rosé. Most people would say it looks pink.

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