Houston crime: Thieves target Alkek Velodrome, stealing specialized track bikes

Authorities are on the hunt for some bicycle thieves who stole more than a dozen specialized bikes from the Alkek Velodrome in Cullen Park. 

They're not the kinds of bikes you'd see on the roads or trails. Track bikes have a single, fixed gear and no brakes. The assumption is that someone thought they could pawn that pedal-power for pennies.

SUGGESTED: Klein ISD teacher and son arrested, charged with recruiting juvenile students for prostitution

The discovery was made early Friday morning, where a now-empty storage container held tens of thousands of dollars worth of rental track bikes. When the count was done, 15 bikes were gone. That's about half of the velodrome's rental fleet. 

"They came in with angle-grinders, power tools, cutting-saws, all kinds of things," says velodrome director Stuart Gardner. "They were pretty prepared."

Security cameras were recently vandalized, perhaps by the thieves. The lone working camera did not have a line of sight on where the break-in occurred.

FOX 26 Houston is now on the FOX LOCAL app available through Apple TV, Amazon FireTV, Roku, Google Android TV, and Vizio!

The Alkek Velodrome was built in 1986 for a U.S. Olympic festival, and has held international, national, and local racing ever since. It is the only remaining velodrome in Texas, now run by the non-profit Greater Houston Cycling Foundation. In the summers, free camps teach kids how to ride and race, and rentals allow those who are still learning to have an opportunity to explore without the full-investment of their own bike. For now, the theft puts much of that in jeopardy. 

"Without the opportunities we give them, initially, these things just wouldn't happen," says Gardner. "Having a nice bike to try the velodrome can be the difference from them loving the sport, and getting into it, and deciding not to come back."

A bike-theft specialist with the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's Office is investigating, and we're told there are some suspects they're looking at. Despite some financial donations, rebuilding the fleet is on hold until the whereabouts of the stolen bikes can be determined.

Alkek Velodrome: https://www.alkekvelodrome.com/