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SPD investigating vandalism to Seattle bike share program

Vandals damage "Pronto" bikes in Seattle's Eastlake neighborhood. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE -- Investigators are trying to determine who vandalized two bike share stations overnight, slashing tires, ripping bike seats, and cutting bungee cords.

The vandalism was reported at the stations for Pronto cycle share at 12th Avenue NE & NE Campus Parkway and at Eastlake Ave E & E Allison S. The stations are about two miles apart.

Someone slashed tires on bicycles at the 12th and Campus station near the University of Washington. At least two bikes were damaged at the station on Eastlake, with seats ripped and bungee cords slashed.

There have been at least six incidents to three bike share stations in recent weeks, with more than 60 bikes impacted, according to emails sent to Seattle Police and obtained by KOMO News. The cost to repair and replace the parts has topped $1,000.

Last Monday, a witness reported seeing a man puncture the tires on three bikes at the 12th and Campus station. The following evening, 13 bikes were left with flat tires at the Eastlake station, and one of the bikes was also tagged. A third incident on Thursday left bikes damaged at the station at 12th Ave NE & NE 47th St, just north of the university.

"We've seen a recent increase in vandalism in a small area near the U District," said Dani Simons, a spokeswoman for Motivate, the operators of Pronto. "We've informed the Seattle Police Department, and they are working with us to find and apprehend the person or people involved. In the meantime we are taking steps to repair the vandalism."

An email obtained by KOMO News from Pronto's general manager to Seattle Police expressed frustration the cases hadn't been solved.

"As a reminder, we're talking about vandalism to City property here," wrote Demi Allen, general manager for Motivate, which operates Pronto.

"The total count of vandalized bikes now exceeds 60, and the costs are mounting," Allen wrote a few hours later. "Again, this is City property."

The City of Seattle purchased the struggling Pronto bike share program for $1.4 million dollars in March.

Simons estimated the value of the damaged good at $1500 and said the costs Motivate covers the cost to fix the bikes.

"This is covered under the operating fee that the City pays us," Simons wrote. "Just like if a bike gets a flat while a customer is riding it, we fix it as part of normal course of business. No additional charge.

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