Three high-end bicycles were taken by thieves who broke through the glass front door at Wheel and Sprocket, 1027 Davis St. in Evanston, around 3:30 a.m. Saturday.

Store general manager Gretchen Brauer tells Evanston Now the combined retail value of the bikes is about $15,000.

“They knew what they were grabbing,” Brauer says of the burglars.

Brauer says security video shows one of the thieves keeping a lookout inside the store, while the other pushed bikes through the broken glass door.

The whole thing, Brauer says, took four minutes, based on the video.

“One sped off on a bike,” she says. The second burglar held on to the other two bicycles. Brauer believes a van was waiting nearby.

The store manager says there have been four similar bike shop burglaries in the city of Chicago recently.

All of the smash-and-grabs, she believes, are part of a coordinated operation.

Someone, Brauer says, “is paying people to do the break-ins.” The bikes are then “going to someone else” in the U.S or perhaps internationally.

“They don’t put this on Craig’s list,” she says.

While the bike burglars apparently knew exactly what they wanted to steal, they didn’t have time to closely inspect the goods.

One of the bikes, a $5,000 Trek Domane, is an electric assist model. But the required battery and charger were not attached, making the bike unusable.

A $5,300 Felt electronic shifter bike also did not have its needed charger.

Brauer says Wheel and Sprocket will look into upgrading its security system.

However, she says the store is absolutely committed to downtown Evanston.

“We’re not leaving,” she says.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.