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December 20, 2012

Christmas comes early after bike stolen in Center Line

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

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Christmas comes early after bike stolen in Center Line
Tyler Bridgewater, 10, checks out the new bike that was donated to replace the one stolen from him in November. Eastside Bike Shop owner Donna Norman and officer Dave Allen of the Center Line Public Safety Department helped to arrange the donation through the bike shop.

CENTER LINE — On Nov. 18, 10-year-old Tyler Bridgewater’s Mongoose bike was taken from his family’s home on State Park in Center Line.

On Dec. 15, he was surprised when he received a new bike, thanks to a generous donation by Denny Norman, owner of Eastside Bike Shop on Van Dyke.

Norman learned of the theft through Center Line Public Safety Officer Dave Allen, who investigated the stolen bike report on State Park and later found about $630 in parts at a veritable “bicycle chop shop” a few streets over.

Unfortunately, Tyler’s bike wasn’t recovered, even though it was properly registered with the city.

Allen said he wanted to do something to help Tyler, so he discussed it with the president of Center Line Police Officers and Dispatchers Association. The union initially planned to purchase the bike and accessories through Eastside Bike, but Norman donated everything instead.

Allen said Norman’s been very supportive of the Public Safety Department in the past, donating bikes for special events and free locks, as an incentive to register bicycles in the city.

“The kid has been without his bike since last month,” Allen said. “He (Norman) graciously donated a bike to this young man.”

Tyler’s father, Robert Bridgewater, said the missing bicycle incident wasn’t the first time his son had been victimized by theft.

In 2008, a pair of juvenile suspects wielding a toy gun robbed Tyler of his cellphone. The theft made the national news.

“The boy’s had a hard time,” Robert Bridgewater said. “He’s just a happy-go-lucky kid now.”

Robert Bridgewater said his son has been extra careful to secure the new Mongoose bike given to him at Eastside Bike.

“He’s just so happy, now he’s got that bike. He locks it up in the garage. He locks the bike up in the locked garage,” Robert Bridgewater said.

Norman, who moved the bike shop to Center Line nine years ago, said he was pleased to help the boy.

“If everyone gets involved, it helps out, don’t it?” Norman said. “He was delighted. He was grinning from ear to ear. It’s just something we like to do every year. That’s what Christmas is all about, isn’t it?”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.