TRAVERSE CITY — A dozen new Fuji bikes and a kayak were stolen from the “otter shed” at Duncan L. Clinch Marina.
The shed is used for bike storage by The River at Traverse City, a company that rents bikes, stand-up paddle boards, and kayaks to visitors at the popular downtown beach.
Owner Mike Sutherland said doors were locked at the otter shed on Aug. 6 at 9 p.m. The company also locked some of its 60-bike fleet outdoors.
“I came back to open at 7 in the morning, and it was very noticeable right away that we were missing a bunch of bikes,” he said. “We counted everything up, and we were short 12 bikes.’
Sutherland said there are two doors at the otter shed — named for its former zoo occupants — and it’s possible one was left unlocked.
“We’ve got 30 employees, and our closing procedures are clear, but it’s very possible that maybe one of the doors got left open,” he said. “We have so much equipment, it’s a really hard thing to make everything bomb-proof at night.”
Sutherland said he invested in the new fleet of bikes this year. He estimated their worth at $2,500.
“I have a feeling that might have contributed to why someone would want to steal the bikes in the first place,” he said. “I’m sure they are hard to resist. The nicer the bike, the more people want to take it.”
Sutherland said there are no leads on the theft of the men’s and women’s bikes, but they look unique and are easy to identify.
“In the meantime, Traverse City, believe it or not, is not very friendly in that way,” he said. “Bikes are taken all the time. This is our fourth year, and we acknowledge in our business plan that we’re going to have thefts, ones and twos, over the course of the season.”