Community outraged at beating of beloved bicycle shop owner
by Chuck Hoven

(Plain Press, April 2006) On Friday March 24th, police arrested David Worley, a suspect in the robbery and assault of Ken Schneider at Schneider’s Lorain Denison Bike Shop. Worley, age 50, is being charged with felonious assault, aggravated robbery and kidnapping. Worley was captured at a drug house in Slavic Village.

On Tuesday evening, March 21st, Mrs. Schneider tried calling her husband Ken at Schneider’s Lorain-Denison Bike Shop and didn’t get an answer. Worried, she went over to the shop at 10001 Lorain Avenue and found Ken bound and severely beaten. Among the injuries sustained by Ken Schneider are a fractured skull and a broken jaw.

Schneider is currently hospitalized at MetroHealth Medical Center and undergoing surgery,

The vicious beating of Schneider, known for his gentle manner, low cost bike repairs and generosity to neighborhood causes such as the bike rodeo for neighborhood children, sent shock waves throughout the community. The bicycle shop is a long time institution in the neighborhood in which many neighborhood residents have had their bicycle repaired, purchased bike parts or a new bicycle. Several generations of the Schneider family have run the store and many generations of neighborhood residents have brought their bicycles there for repairs.

Michael McDonald, Program Manager of SafetyNet, a community-based safety program in Ward 18, says that the suspect Worley confessed to the crime, saying he was stealing to support a crack cocaine addiction. McDonald credits good detective work by Detective Denny Sweeney for the capture of the suspect. The Oho Department of Rehabilitation and Correction website says Worley was released in June 2005 after serving 15 years of a 10-25 year sentence for manslaughter. The suspect was still on parole at the time of the crime.

McDonald says Worley fit a description of person who had robbed the bike shop on three previous occasions in November, December, and January.  Crime Stoppers circulated a description  of  a white male, about 5’ 7”, about 140 lbs, with reddish blond hair. The suspect brandished a knife on each occasion and tied up Ken Schneider during two of the previous robberies. During the December robbery the suspect was accompanied by another white male, 5’10”, 160 pounds, with brown hair and a brown beard.

In the January robbery, the suspect robbed the cash register of $50 and took $20 from Schneider. Schneider reported that the suspect wanted to take a used bike. Schneider urged him to take a new bike rather than one of his customer’s bikes that he was repairing.  While the suspect went to look at a bike in the back, Schneider slipped out the front door.

Cudell Improvement Executive Director Anita Brindza said that the strip along Lorain Avenue where the bicycle shop is located has a police beat patrol. In addition she says merchants in the area have been introduced to the Restore Cleveland Safety Kit,  a packet of information to help merchants keep their stores safe. After the most recent assault and robbery of Ken Schneider, Brindza says two Cudell staff members went door to door in the neighborhood and reintroduced the safety material to merchants in the area.

Cudell Improvement Associate Director for Commercial Development Catherine Smith Sabolik and Cudell Improvement Crime Prevention Program Manager Birgit Hilliard talked to merchants along Lorain Avenue near the bicycle shop and reported they didn’t get the sense that merchants felt that the robbery represented a trend. A bank at W. 98th and Lorain and Mike’s Beverage in Corino Plaza had been robbed.

Smith Sabolik says safety strategies will be discussed at the next merchant’s meeting in April. Cudell Improvement is participating in a Cleveland Neighborhood Development Corporation safety program headed up by former First District Commander Charles McNeeley. Smith Sabolik says the program will offer parcel-by-parcel assessment of safety strategies for merchants.

Smith Sabolik says merchants at the meeting will receive an update on a study done on how to strategically place cameras on Lorain Avenue to allow viewing of the entire commercial strip from Lorain at Denison to W. 90th Street.

 

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