A stolen bike story isn't very newsworthy.

When the bike is the one ridden by a mother who rides in charity events to raise money to fight juvenile diabetes, because her 13-year-old son died from the disease, it raises the bar.

When police officers who comforted the mother after her son died end up recovering the $3,500 racing bike after five weeks of looking for it, that's news.

The officers who helped find the bike have received letters of recognition from the Madison Police Department and have renewed the hope in humanity by the 42-year-old Madison woman.

The officers include Steve Mackesey, Stephanie Retlick, Sarah Mackesey, Patricia Drury and Lindsey Ludden, police spokesman Joel DeSpain told madison.com.

"To say the bike had sentimental significance would be an understatement," DeSpain said. "It had become a very important part of her life, a symbol of a son lost."

In 2010, the woman lost her 13-year-old son to complications related to juvenile diabetes.

"Many West precinct officers had been familiar with the family through this tragedy and remained close with her," one officer said in his report about the bike theft.

The bicycle was taken from the garage at the woman's Whitlock Road residence on Sept. 19.

"When it was stolen, she was not at all confident it would ever come back," DeSpain said. "She said you rarely hear about bikes being recovered."

After the theft, an officer at the West precinct station put up a flier in house, describing the bike in great detail.

"It got on the radar of everyone on patrol," DeSpain said.

Police then found out someone was trying to sell the bike on Craigslist. For $1.

"A friend of the victim saw it on Craigslist and contacted the seller," DeSpain said. "The seller said someone almost bought it but the bike was too small."

The seller didn't say where the bike was exactly, but that it was in a garage on the city's south side.

Police looked into the phone number for the seller and came up with a name. Officers also started combing south side streets, hoping to find where the bike was.

"The victim's friend called us again, with a solid address," DeSpain said. "This all happened on Sept. 24."

Police went to the address on Baird Street and talked to the woman living there.

"She said a male friend kept things in her garage and he was often selling items," DeSpain said.

The male friend wasn't there at the time, but an officer looking for the bicycle found it in the garage and recovered it. Two days later, that officer talked to the male friend.

"He said he found the bike near Raymond Road and Prairie Road," DeSpain said. "He thought it appeared to be damaged and discarded, so he tossed it into the bed of his pickup truck, because he said he often picks up items hoping to sell them for scrap or to fix them up for sale."

He admitted he didn't know much about bikes and thought the one he recovered was worth not much more than $20.

The officer believed the tale, and the man was happy to be able to get the bike back to the rightful owner.

The bicycle was recovered on the day that would have been the boy's 15th birthday.

"She said nothing had been removed from the bike, not even her trail pass with her name on it," DeSpain said.

You might also like