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Concerns grow over L.A. bike thefts after two cyclists are shot

April 30, 2010 |  3:34 pm

The concerns about bike thefts in Los Angeles increased Friday as LAPD detectives said they are searching for two men who are responsible for shooting two cyclists who fought the robbers in Koreatown.

One of the victims was so badly wounded during the April 4 robbery that he was only released from the hospital last week, police said.

“They nearly killed him,” said LAPD Det. Dennis Bopp, who is investigating the shootings. “It was a crime of opportunity that turned to violence.”

The shooting unfolded about 3.a.m., when the two victims stopped to get food from a catering truck at Pico Boulevard and Westmoreland Avenue. The victims left their bicycles unguarded nearby. As the men bought food, two men walked up and grabbed their bikes.

The cyclists saw their bikes being wheeled away, chased the robbers and began struggling for control of the bicycles, Bopp said.

One of the robbers pulled out a handgun and shot one of the victims in the ribcage. Then, as they rode off, he shot the second cyclist in the shoulder.

The shooting comes as the LAPD reported a 29% increase in bike thefts last year compared to 2008. Nearly 2,000 bikes were reported stolen last year in Los Angeles -- and authorities believe the actual number of thefts was much higher because so many people don't report stolen bikes.

-- Richard Winton