FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - An organization made a generous gift to help the homeless, days after teens broke into a shelter in Fort Lauderdale and stole more than a dozen bicycles.
The nonprofit Recyclable Bicycle Exchange (RBX) delivered on its promise to lend a helping hand to Broward Partnership in Fort Lauderdale. Bike after bike lined up outside the shelter, located along the 900 block of Northwest Seventh Street, Monday.
On hand to make the delivery was RBX founder Jeff Torkelson. “We brought a U-Haul full of bikes for the coalition,” he said. “There was an unfortunate situation last week that some unruly youth broke in, stole a number of their bikes.”
According to Broward Partnership, the young perpetrators broke locks in order to make their way inside the premises, Wednesday night. “They were able to use bolt cutters to get access to the bikes and immediately took off,” said Broward Partnership spokesperson Mike Long.
Surveillance video captured the thieves as they ran in and rode off with many of the residents’ only means of transportation. “These are people who are trying to get their lives back together,” said Long. “They’re employed. They’re going to school. They are trying to get themselves self-sufficient in their own housing, and the lifeblood to their transportation was gone.”
Now, thanks to the generous donation of 18 bikes from RBX, the coalition’s clients can get back to the business of rebuilding their lives. “Recyclable Bicycle Exchange decided to replace all the bikes that were stolen, fix some that were damaged and add a couple of more bikes to their fleet,” said Torkelson.
Shelter residents said they are filled with gratitude. “It feels amazing. I mean, the great thing about it, the same day I got my bicycle is the same day that I got it stolen,” said one of the victims, “so getting a new one, it’s like, it feels great. I’m blessed.”
Torkelson, who started RBX after noticing many of the children in the youth organizations he volunteered for didn’t have bikes, said the donation is the least he could do to lend a helping hand. “Well, it’s unfortunate that this situation happened, but we are really excited that we could come and provide these bikes and help these people get back on their feet,” he said, “so it’s pretty exciting. It’s pretty fun.”
The thieves remain at large. If you have any information on this crime, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.
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