Our “little island” is not immune!!!!!!
This was taken from one of our local TV station’s stories this summer. (WJCL 22)
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. —
Bike rental companies are still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with a serious shortage of bicycles and parts.
And now shops on Hilton Head Island are dealing with a major theft issue on top of it.
“This summer has been the worst summer that I have ever seen as far as rental bike theft,” says James Bradford, owner of the Bike Doctor.
Bradford says, so far this summer, he’s had 80 bikes stolen.
Each bike costs anywhere from $400 to $450, and with a depleted inventory during peak tourist season, he worries about making it through the winter.
“Every single bike is worth a $40 to $50 rental fee every week during the summertime, and we are completely sold out of bikes every single week during the summertime. So it is a big deal,” Bradford says.
Surveillance video from a neighboring business shows several kids riding off on bikes Bradford says were stolen from his bike yard in broad daylight.
More surveillance video from the Bike Doctor’s surveillance cameras shows several kids hopping the fence around 2:30 a.m., each one taking a bike and handing it to an accomplice standing on the other side.
Bradford says the theft is happening on a weekly basis.
And Bike Doctor isn’t the only business suffering.
Wheelz, on the island’s south end, says dozens of their bikes have gone missing over the past few weeks.
“We’re also seeing locks being cut and laying on the ground. So it’s very sad,” says Lisa Plavcan, general manager of Wheelz.
Replacing bikes is not only expensive, it’s also difficult to do because of the supply shortage caused by the pandemic.
“We have an order for bikes out right now that the lead time on it is 14 months. So we have a lot of parts on backorder. It’s just crazy,” Plavcan adds.