BATON ROUGE — A nonprofit bike shop on Government Street has lost thousands of dollars after more than a dozen bikes were stolen on multiple occasions.
Front Yard Bikes is known for taking care of children in the capital area. In January alone, however, her facility was broken into five times. Broken doors, windows and glass are fouling the floors in certain areas of the old church, which they use as a center of operations.
At least 15 retrospec bikes were stolen from the building. The loss totals more than $4,000, but founder Dustin LaFont says that wasn’t even the biggest challenge.
“More, unfortunately, comes with a loss of peace of mind and tranquility,” LaFont said. “Having to deal with an unfortunate issue that doesn’t allow you to do your best, especially when we’re trying to do programs with our youth and other elements. We’ve definitely been sidetracked from being the best kind of program that we want to be.”
Now he’s asking the community for help to keep an eye out for the stolen bikes, which could be sold at nearby pawn shops.
“If you see some of the bikes featured in the description on Instagram and you see that they are for sale at pawn shops or other locations, let us know. We just know how to say to our community members, ‘Hey, this is stolen stuff, let’s try to stop this,'” LaFont said.
Meanwhile, LaFont is focused on cleaning up the mess and getting back to work: teaching the town’s youth how to fix bikes and keeping the youths out of trouble.
“While this is a very unfortunate problem, it doesn’t define us and it’s not something we’re going to live in,” LaFont said. “We will not be deprived of the daily good work and joys of our amazing children across town.
Anyone with information about the theft is encouraged to call law enforcement. LaFont also mentioned that the catalytic converter was stolen from their community van earlier this month.
Front Yard Bikes also accepts bike donations or support at any time.