No suspects yet in break-ins at bicycle, gun, uniform shops

Tom Latimer knew nothing good could come from a phone call at 3:40 a.m., even if it was Christmas.

He was right.

The caller was a Del Norte County sheriff's deputy - Latimer's shop, Back Country Bicycles in Crescent City, had been broken into.

Someone had broken the window and left with three bicycles, the cash register and an assortment of small parts and tools, Latimer said. Nearby, Crescent City Uniforms and Supplies and Full Armor Firearms, which share the same store space, was also broken into.

According to the owner of Full Armor Firearms, who asked not to be identified, the thieves broke the front window and left with a display case full of knives, as well as candy and soaps being sold as fundraising efforts for Relay For Life and Del Norte High School.

All three businesses are in Old Town Center on Northcrest Drive.

Latimer said deputies responded to the bike shop at about 3:20 a.m. The thieves cut a cable chaining the three bikes to each other, leading Latimer to believe that they had cased the store prior to the break-in. He estimated the value of the stolen items to be roughly $2,000.

"They knew exactly what they were looking for and where it was," Latimer said, adding that deputies told him they found the back door open. "They came in the front window and out the back door."

Latimer has been in business on Northcrest Drive for 20 years. The last time someone broke into Back Country Bicycles was when it first opened, he said.

Before the thieves broke into the gun shop, they cut the power to the shopping complex, according to the owner. But the store's alarm system went off when the thieves broke the window, and their images were captured on a surveillance camera, the owner said.

"They're typical criminals," he said. "They're not that bright."

The Del Norte County Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate these incidents, said Sheriff Dean Wilson. Deputies did recover the bike shop's cash register, which was dumped in a trash bin. There were no suspects as of Friday, Wilson said.

Officials are asking anyone with information about the cases to contact the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office at 464-4191.

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