On the outside, the Lincoln Bike Kitchen may look the same -- with its eclectic collection of bicycles, parts and fence of welded bike frames.
But the nonprofit bike shop and volunteer community that sprang up around it have been dealt a major blow: Someone stole nearly all of the tools.
Volunteer mechanics Meghan Sullivan and Charles Mitchell stopped by the shop at 1720 S. 15th St. on Wednesday afternoon to look at a recently donated bike, Sullivan said. There, they found a back window of the two-bedroom house broken and pegboards that the day before had held a two-year accumulation of tools empty.
“My heart was in my throat. I was so upset I almost cried,” Sullivan said. “We work really, really hard here.”
She said the burglar left an old hammer, a mallet, a gear-cleaning brush and a screwdriver.
They also found the lock on a door to the garage broken, but nothing was missing from there.
Valued at about $1,000, the tools were purchased through community grants and donations.
Sullivan said two full sets of Park Tool brand tools were marked with yellow, red or white electrical tape.
The shop will pedal on, Sullivan said, although little mechanical work is likely to happen until new tools are bought or the old ones recovered.
Anyone interested in donating to Bike Kitchen should send email to email@example.com or stop by noon-4 p.m. Sundays and 5-9 p.m. Mondays. The shop is open for women only the first Wednesday evening of each month.
Sullivan and Mitchell have reported the burglary to police.