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Community Spoke bike shop hopes to move past burglary

Not even a burglary can keep Jamaica Plain bike shop, The Community Spoke!, from moving forward.

The store, which was broken into on Nov. 13, has plans to reopen its doors in 2013, said Alex Brexler, a core volunteer at The Spoke.

“I imagine that we will open for the spring season,” Brexler said. “We always slow down the things we do during the winter months. If not at our current location, then somewhere else and we will continue to do what we do.”

The robbery resulted in many stolen tools and bikes, according to the store’s website.

“The people who open up the shop realized the lights were on and the locks were pried off the doors,” Brexler said. “They went in and saw that some of our bikes and tools and parts were stolen.”

The police were not called when the burglary was discovered, he added.

“The only help that we could receive from the police is retrieving our stolen property back,” Brexler said. “That is not on our high list of concerns. What’s more important is to have good working community where we can police ourselves.”

Since the incident, The Spoke has received an influx of emails and social media posts from people asking where they can donate items so the bike shop can reopen, Brexler said.

In lamenting the burglary, several community members said the bike shop has always been known as a place where people can bring their bikes and use the shops’ tools for free.

Josh Brown, a 36-year-old resident of Cambridge, said The Spoke is an important resource to the community.

“They’re a space where people can come together to celebrate bicycles, trade experiences and knowledge of bikes,” Brown said.

Matthew Mayo, a 21-year-old from Brookline, called The Spoke a “great place,” noting its ample resources.

“It’s a really nice place its basically a fully stocked bike shop where you can work on your bike with the help of professional bike mechanics,” Mayo said. “It would cost a lot of money to buy all these very specialized tools on your own. It just sucks that someone would take advantage of these people that are volunteering to help people.”

But Mayo said the burglary did not come as a shock.

“The guys that run The Spoke repeatedly mentioned how tools went missing and were stolen,” he said.

Brexler said The Spoke has suffered a series of thefts prior to the most recent incident.

“There have been a few minor shoplifting incidents while we have been open and we leave bikes locked up in the front, which people have cut the locks off the bikes,” he said.

Despite having a high number of thefts, Jamaica Plain has had fewer burglaries in 2012 than 2011, according to a crime report released by the Boston Police Department.

In 2011, Jamaica Plain had 235 burglaries from Jan. 1 to Nov. 12. In 2012, there have been 206 during the same time period, according to the report.

Brown said he hopes the bike shop will rise above this burglary and something better will come about it.

“It’s rough,” he said. “I feel bad for the shop and the people who work there. Working in a community bike shop is hard work and they must be going through a difficult time right now.”

Brown said he is sending information to all his friends around Boston in case they see any of the stolen materials.

“I wish them the best and have much respect for them in the way they’re handling this,” Brown said. “I hope they’ll come out of this a better shop and more well-known community resource.”

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