Joseph was getting a bite to eat at a west-side McDonald’s earlier this month when a stranger walked up to him, told him he was going to beat him up and stole his mountain bike.
Just like that, the only means of transportation for the 64-year-old developmentally disabled man was gone.
“He kept apologizing and crying” when asked what the robber looked like, Officer Lori Kimrey said. “He’d say, ‘I just don’t know.’”
The mean man seemed to be in his 20s, Joseph told them. But that’s about all he could remember.
He also had a hard time describing his bike, other than it was black and red – and featured one other detail.
“My bike had shocks on it,” he would say.
That told the officers it was a mountain bike. Officer Rob Golding contacted Michael Scanga, owner of the Bicycle Exchange, and asked if he had a used bike similar to the one stolen.
“Let me see what I’ve got,” Scanga told him.
The officers went by the shop the next day when Scanga told them he had something.
“We were all going to pitch in and just buy it” for Joseph, Kimrey said.
But Scanga donated the bike to Joseph.
“That guy has a heart of gold,” Kimrey said of Scanga, who downplayed his part in helping find Joseph a new set of wheels.
“Anything we can do to assist them with a worthy cause – and that is a worthy cause – we’re Johnny on the spot,” Scanga said.
The Bicycle Exchange has been repairing and refurbishing used bicycles since 1973, he said, so it’s second nature to make a bike look as good as new by the time they’re through.
“We clean them up thoroughly,” Scanga said. “If it’s something worth doing, do it right, my father always taught me.”
The officers took it to the group home where Joseph lives and presented it to him a day after his bike was stolen.
“He was just elated,” Kimrey said. “He was so excited: ‘I got a new bike!’”
And then he took it for a ride.