A truck driver was gassed and parts for the production of ten thousand bicycles were stolen in an organized robbery in January.
The parts were stolen from the largest Czech bicycle producer, Bike Fun International, that produces full bikes under the Rock Machine and Superior names and components through ONE Bikeparts. BFI says that the thieves stole important Shimano components and as a result, customers will have to wait almost a year longer for some of its models in future. MTBnews.de reports that
brakes, rear derailleurs, Di2 batteries, various e-bike parts, hubs and displays were among the parts stolen totalling around €270,000.
The well-planned heist took place on the night of January 21 at a motorway rest area in Germany during a truck driver's break. The cargo was being taken to an assembly plant and it's believed that the truck had been followed from the time it was loaded. It's claimed that the perpetrators waited for the driver to take a rest break then put him to sleep with gas let into the cab before taking the cargo. Finally, the thieves sprayed the cargo area with a fire extinguisher, which is believed to have been to disguise the evidence and make it harder to trace them.
BFI says it will be able to replace some components from stock or from its next production but the impact of the crime on future production was described as "significant" as it compounds the supply chain issues facing the whole industry
Petr Krkoska, BFI supply chain director, said, "From the consignment loaded mostly with expensive e-bike and bike parts only nine boxes of low-end components were left in the truck. This will delay production of some models by almost a year, as there is no alternative on the market for many of the parts from this shipment. We are a strong and stable company, so this is just another obstacle out of many we are facing last years, but would this happen to smaller manufacturers, it would be liquidating for them.
"We really haven't seen this situation before. Even Shimano has not faced with a targeted robbery of a shipment on a similar scale. We hope that due to the shortage of parts, these cases will not be repeated, because despite all the measures we have set up, no insurance cover can compensate us for the loss and especially the reputation for late delivery. We decided to communicate this matter to warn other producers, because it could happen to them also."