WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Thieves swiped a number of donated bikes from a Wichita nonprofit over the weekend.
Emery Park BMX has been operating in south Wichita since 1985. Its volunteers are dedicated to teaching area youth how to ride and race BMX bikes.
“We like to give kids a good, fun, safe outlet to release their energy in a positive environment,” said Emery Park BMX and GEAR Inc. President J.D. Oliver.
Oliver grew up around BMX. He started riding and racing at Emery Park when he was a kid.
“Riding is just everything to all of us out here. I mean, it’s what we do. It’s our spare time. It’s our release. It’s our exercise. It’s just what brings us joy and happiness and something that we can all do as a family,” Oliver said.
However, that family happiness was replaced with anger on Sunday morning, according to Oliver.
“Came back for the next day’s races and when we got out here we found a new giant hole in our storage garage that we use to store all of our loaner bikes in. Found out that a lot of our loaner bikes had been taken from the track and a break in had occurred at that time, ” Oliver said.
Oliver said the thieves ripped off some of the siding on the garage, knocked through the plywood and gained access inside. He said they swiped between 5 and 8 of the organization’s loaner bikes. The loaner bikes are for kids who are new to the sport or for kids who cannot afford to buy their own.
“It hinders the children that come out here to BMX ride with us. When they don’t have a bike to ride, they have to sit out on the sidelines or try to borrow something from somebody,” he said.
Oliver and some other volunteers have boarded up the section of the garage where the thieves broke in. He said they have also installed motion sensors. The garage already had double locks and an alarm system.
Oliver said he has filed a police report. He said he does not want to get the people who stole the bikes in trouble. Instead, he would like them to return the bikes to the organization.
“We don’t like to prosecute anybody. We just would like our stuff back because it helps our organization run,” he said.