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Community Spoke bicycle co-op shop in Jamaica Plain closes after bikes, supplies allegedly stolen

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  November 14, 2012 02:51 PM

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The Community Spoke, a bicycle cooperative in Jamaica Plain, has closed indefinitely this week after the shop was allegedly broken into and had a couple thousand dollars worth of bikes, parts, tools and other supplies stolen, according to one of the shop’s volunteers.

“We arrived last night to find that the doors had been broken down and the locks had been pried off with a crowbar,” said the shop volunteer Alex Drexler, 27, of Allston.

He said it was the most brazen in a series of thefts that has plagued the shop for the past six months or so.

“Each time it’s been a little bit bolder than the past,” beginning with wheels being stolen off bikes locked up outside, then the locks were cut and whole bikes were stolen and then, for the first time, the shop was broken into within the past week, Drexler said.

The collectively-run shop is located in a garage attached to a larger building at 10 Boylston Place.

It was founded two years ago and serves several hundred people each season, from spring through fall, he said. It provides bicycle repair services, including periodic repair clinics, along with instructions, bike parts and reconditioned bikes – all for free.

While not all of the shop’s supplies were stolen, “it was enough to make us feel not secure,” Drexler said.

Everything that was left at the shop has been moved to a secure storage location, he said.

The most valuable items stolen were two cargo bikes that the shop’s volunteers use to transport tools to set-up mobile bike repair stations. He estimated that replacing everything that was stolen with new items would cost about $2,500.

Drexler said the shop’s volunteers have no plans to contact police and are asking others to not call authorities.

“Police generally in our experience don’t intend to help out. They generally bring more problems than it’s worth,” he said. “We’re pretty sure it was kids, teenagers. We’re not interested in having anyone go to jail or face charges

“Our main concern was not what was stolen, but that we’re providing a free service for the community and that was violated,” Drexler added.

The shop is run by several core members, including himself, along with about 15 to 20 other volunteers. It is supported by supplies and money that are donated.

He said the shop expects to remain closed for the time begin as options for reopening will be explored, including that making their existing more secure or finding a new location.

The location is normally open each Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. and by appointment, but is closed most Tuesdays during the winter, from December through March, according to Drexler.

“It’s very sad to have to close under these circumstances, but we will make every effort to reopen next season,” the co-op’s website says.

BostInno.com reported on the alleged robbery and subsequent shop shut down Wednesday morning.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.
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