Thief destroys tree to steal bike outside Kickbacks Gastropub

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Police are looking for the man who ripped off the top of a tree to steal a bicycle that was locked to it.

Paul Mathews works the late shift at Kickbacks Gastropub on King Street. He said his vintage Huffy bike was stolen while he was working.

Surveillance video shows a young man destroying a crepe myrtle tree outside the restaurant. The thief jumped on the branches to snap them off so he could get to the bike. Mathews said the bike just had $300 worth of work done to it, and it isn't even his. It's his roommates.

"I was highly upset because it wasn't my bike. Someone had loaned me that bike so I could make it to work that night and to come back and find it gone. I was devastated," Mathews said.

In the video, the thief is seen lifting the bike over the now-topless tree to steal it. He tossed the branches into the vacant lot next door.

Jim Love is a city councilman who works with the Park and King Association. Love said they've worked hard to improve the area, and this is a setback.

"Since we beautified it in 2005-2006, there's a big difference in the quality of the commercial district, it's a lot more vibrant now that ever before," Love said.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.

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