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November 23, 2012 06:02 PM

Bicycles Stolen From Program For Needy Kids

Box Elder, SD

The Yellow Bike Program in Box Elder, fixes up donated bikes for kids in need.  But earlier this week, some of its refurbished bikes were stolen.

The missing bicycles were supposed to go to the Toys For Tots program.  Now, volunteers are hard at work trying to replace them.

For years, Dale Bishop has dedicated his life to fixing and refurbishing bikes for the needy.

"My wife said get a hobby 16 and a half years ago and that's where it all began," Bishop said.

Bishop runs the Yellow Bicycle Program, which has donated more than 8,000 bikes to people around the Black Hills.

"We get people that want to help and donate their time and efforts to fix up all these old bicycles.  We just take them in one at a time and refurbish them," Bishop said.

"We can build them, fix them, repair them," volunteer James Powers said.

Each year, the Yellow Bike Program donates 100 bicycles to Toys For Tots.  But earlier this week Bishop realized that around 20 of the bikes had been taken.

That's not the only thing that turned up missing.

"It seems like they just came in, backed up a truck and just hauled off about 30 wheels," Bishop said.

For volunteers like 13-year-old Powers, who have spent hours wrenching on the bikes, news of the theft was disheartening.

"He called me, called my mom and told her. My first reaction was, 'oh come on!'" Powers said.

After word of the stolen bicycles circulated around the community, donations began pouring in.  On top of eight brand-new kids bikes, Bishop says an anonymous donor has pledged a new out-building, so donated bikes can be kept under lock and key.

It's all part of a common goal.

"We'll just make sure that every child that needs or deserves a bike will receive one, one way or another," Bishop said.

The Yellow Bike Program also supplies bicycles to adults in need of transportation.  To learn more about the program and how you can help, visit the organization's website.

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