Bicycles from charity race stolen in Center City

Police are searching for the thief who stole 15 bicycles that were part of a charity race from a Center City pub.

The theft happened early Tuesday around 4:30 a.m. at the Irish Pub on Walnut Street near 20th. The bicycles were being stored at the pub following the 26th Annual Tour de Shore bicycle race on Sunday. The pub organizes the 65-mile race from its Walnut Street location to its original location in Atlantic City to raise money for children's charities, with most of it going to the families of fallen police officers in the region. This year, about 1,600 people took part, raising more than $600,000, an organizer said.

Following a post-race celebration, many of the participants rode a bus back to the Center City pub, according to an organizer. Due to the pouring rain Sunday, the bus ride took six hours, prompting some to leave their bikes at the pub that night.

"We think some people who normally grab them on Sunday night did not," said Mark O'Connor, partner of the Irish Pub and president of the Irish Pub Children's Foundation. "It’s really a bummer. It’s not the way we wanted to end the week, but we’re not going to let it ruin what was a terrific day."

O'Connor said the bikes were stored behind the pub inside a barbed-wire topped fence. The thief apparently used a ladder to climb over the fence and swipe the bikes, which have an estimated value of $22,000, police said. O'Connor discovered the bikes were missing Tuesday morning, but the ladder was still there.

"They left the ladder. [That is] not a fair trade," he said.

Surveillance cameras nearby captured the suspect's vehicle. It is an older model, light colored Ford pickup truck, possibly a Ranger. It was seen traveling west on the 2000 block of Moravian Street at 4:35 a.m.

Anyone with information on the theft is urged to call Central Detectives at 215-686-3093 or the police tipline at 215-686-TIPS (8477). You can also text a tip to PPD TIP or 773847.