CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A thief stole seven donated bicycles from a Rock Hill bike shop that were meant for needy kids and families who can’t afford them.
College Cycles Bike Shop owner Robert Baker thinks a scrap metal thief hoping to make a quick couple of bucks stole the bikes from behind his Oakland Avenue store overnight Sunday. He believes whoever committed the crime doesn’t realize how important those refurbished bikes are to the community.
Five of the stolen bikes were headed for kids through local charities.
“All they needed were the chains put back on and lubed, and a cable or two, maybe a tube, and just to be tuned up,” said Baker.
Baker planned to use the other two bikes for parts.
"My job, this is what I do,” Baker said about refurbishing bikes. "I put a tool in the hands of people and beg them to go out and use it for the right things.”
The bike shop has been in business since 1990. Baker estimates he has refurbished thousands of donated bikes and helped give them away.
"Some kid can get to the library, read books, educate himself, get to the pool for the summer when the house he is in doesn't have air conditioning, somewhere safe,” he said. "They stole from children and I don't have forgiveness for that."
Parents who can’t afford bus fare to get to work also ride Baker’s refurbished and donated bikes.
His phone rang Wednesday afternoon with people wanting to donate after hearing about the theft.
"That's music to my ears, man,” Baker said.
If you would like to donate, you can contact the store at (803) 329-0992, or on Facebook.