Thieves target San Jose nonprofit Good Karma in string of burglaries

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A nonprofit group in San Jose is finding itself the victim of a string of burglaries. Its name, Good Karma, reflects its efforts to give bikes to the homeless and to help others to repair bikes for basic transportation.

Never underestimate the ability of thieves to work around locks, steel cables and alarm systems. Good Karma, located in San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood, has had a string of break-in's, the most recent on Thursday.

The two thieves, dressed in hoodies, targeted the three most expensive bikes in the shop -- a Cannondale valued at $1,000 and two Raleighs with a combined value of $1,500.

Those bikes had special value. When sold, they help to support Good Karma's nonprofit services, holding free bike repair clinics, providing repair services, and giving away 3,500 bikes to the homeless.

Good Karma does have insurance but the deductible is high and therefore won't cover the loss of the three bikes.

CEO Jim Gardner says that will probably represent 50 fewer bikes that his organization can service or give away to people in need.

"My heart breaks for the criminals who did this," he said. "These are people who are desperate. They're in a hole, and they're digging their hole deeper. That is the part that is hardest for me."

Just four days earlier, thieves broke in, disconnected cables and stole a computer. They also searched for cash but failed to find any.

Good Karma was created a decade ago during the recession. Its facility is quiet today because it's closed Mondays and Tuesdays, but on other days, it's bustling with volunteers and a small staff. Among them, young people looking to acquire skills that could help them find jobs in the future.

Security will be improved. But the focus of Good Karma won't change.
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