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Galt e-bike seller says he's frustrated after store hit with second break-in in two weeks

Smash and grab happened at Ray Electric on Sunday
Steve Ray, owner of Ray Electric, is frustrated after a thief smashed through the front door of his Park Hill Road business and made off with a $2,500 e-bike Sunday night. The break-in and theft is the second he's had to deal with in two weeks.

After two electric bikes were stolen from his Park Hill Road store in less than two weeks, Steve Ray says he's had enough and is calling on Waterloo regional police to be a greater presence in downtown Cambridge.

"I'm at a complete loss," says the owner of Ray Electric.

The 60-year-old company displays and sells e-scooters and e-bikes as a niche side business to the main operation of selling home electric heating and cooling systems.

"I'm not sure if that's such a good idea anymore," Ray says after someone smashed through the front door Sunday at 9:30 p.m. and made off with an e-bike worth $2,500.

The same thing happened shortly after 6:15 a.m. on Sept. 3, this time after someone smashed through a back door and tripped the alarm after hopping the barbed-wire fence at the back of the property off Ainslie Street. The thief made off with the e-bike through the front door.

Ray says security cameras outside weren't functioning at the time and cameras at the next-door bowling alley and grocery store across the street didn't pick up any activity either.

He doesn't think identifying the culprit would have mattered anyway, adding that's what he's been told by police.

The break-ins come two years after Ray was hit with his first e-bike theft. 

And he knows other businesses that have suffered break-ins as well. He reads almost daily reports of thefts from Galt businesses and residents on Facebook. 

"I do think there needs to be more of a [police] presence, especially in this area," Ray says. "What do they say about the insane running the asylum?"

Ray is unapologetic when he refers to the homeless shelter down the street as the suspected source of his grief.

He says he regularly comes across people doing drugs outside his store, and finds feces and drug paraphernalia strewn around the entrance and in the alley behind the building every week.

And although Ray doesn't have proof, he says he's "almost 95 per cent sure" he met the culprit of the latest break in a day earlier when man came into the store asking questions about the e-bikes and commenting on the earlier theft.

"They'd be crazy to ride those bikes around town because both of them are so unique," says Ray, who posted photos on Facebook knowing the likelihood it might be spotted is low.

He suspects the bike, without keys or a charger, has already been chopped up and sold for parts.

It was one of only a few machines on display at the store this year because of a global shortage in supply. 

Ray says he's decided not to make an insurance claim for the stolen e-bikes out of concern his rates would jump once an underwriter determines the likelihood of further theft. 

While he's waiting for the front door glass to be replaced, he's secured metal sheeting over the opening. He plans to drill i-bolts into the floor and lock the bikes together with a cable.

"If I put bars on the windows, they'll just find another way in," he says.