By Karen Morfitt
LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4)– Colorado’s law enforcement officers are always working to protect our communities, but more often than not, they are also changing lives behind the scenes.
Longmont Police Sgt. Paul Campbell is one of those officers.
“He was pretty excited, it was nice to see,” Campbell said.
He is talking about 14-year-old Christian Wiley who had his brand new bicycle stolen out of his front yard.
“Mostly I need rides to places because my siblings are here and my parents have to watch them so usually just take a bike around is just easier,” Wiley said.
Wiley’s mom Nic said after months of saving, her son had finally earned enough to buy a bike. They went to the store and found Christians dream two wheeler.
“He was like. ‘I love mongoose, the colors are really awesome,’ he’d got his freedom back,” she said.
In about a week, Christian would learn a hard lesson about not locking it up.
The Wiley’s home surveillance cameras caught a grown man riding into their driveway on one bike… and riding away on Christians.
“It just upset me because I put a lot of money toward that bike,” Wiley said.
Mom reported the theft to Longmont police and let them know she had video of the suspect.
Sgt. Campbell who has a love for “bikes” himself would eventually learn about the investigation and the work Christian put in to getting that bike.
“I ride Harleys and there’s a unique freedom a good sense of freedom you get from riding a motorcycle or even a bicycle, that freedom was snatched away from this young man and I wanted to return that to him,” Campbell said.
He started asking for small donations, $1 to $5. Everyone from the department’s custodians to detectives started pitching in and soon that spread to Longmont fire and the ER at the local hospital.
Within days, they had enough money to replace the stolen bike.
“When you take the lead and you do something good others will recognize and want to be part of that good thing and I think that’s what happened here.”
While the department was raising money, the thief likely caught wind of the surveillance video floating around online,
He decided to return the bike. Also caught on camera.
“I’m just glad that he’s got back up on two wheels,” Sgt. Campbell said with a laugh.
The bike was in pretty rough shape when it was returned. The Wiley family is going to have a friend fix it up so they can give it to another person in need.
Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.