Reporting Andrea Menniti
MODESTO (CBS13) — One of the 11 specialized bikes stolen from special-education students at a Modesto elementary school has been returned.
The bike was found sitting in the parking lot of Sherwood Elementary Wednesday morning.
Thieves broke two locks to get inside, leaving behind only a pair of bikes.
For Jacob, the experience of riding a special-needs bike at school is like no other. Jacob and the rest of the third- through fifth-graders in the Sherwood Elementary class can no longer ride together.
That’s because someone stole 11 specialized bikes worth a total of $8,500.
“They were heartbroken. The first thing they noticed is, ‘Where’s our bikes?’” said teacher Darlene Pierson.
She and her husband purchased most of the pricey three-wheelers and stored the teaching tools behind the gate in front of her classroom.
“It’s a big expense, and did take me 17 years to get all of these bikes. It’s not like we are wealthy people or anything.”
Because the bikes can’t be seen from the street, Pierson fears it may have been an inside job.
Principal Carrie Albert hopes thieves return the bikes to campus.
“It’s disheartening that someone felt they needed the bikes than our severely handicapped kids did.”
The children are having a tough time comprehending the bikes are gone.
“When you are trying to explain to children who have an intellectual disability that they are gone, they just don’t understand gone.”
The remaining bikes will be kept in a secure location.
The teacher suspects thieves used a large truck, or made more than one trip to steal the bikes.