MEDINA — The Medina Police Department made a friend for life.
When 9-year-old Jayden Gongwer’s new bicycle was stolen, she was crestfallen. After all, she had purchased the bike herself with the $75 she received for her birthday. Jayden’s mother, Jenna Fox, wasn’t sure she should report the stolen bike to the Police Department, however.
“I’m pretty sure they have better things to do than look for a bike,” Fox said.
Fox’s fiance, Joe Flagg, made the report and Medina Officer Chris Deeks stopped by their Abbeyville Road home June 3. Fox said Jayden always brought the bike inside at night. But they were late for softball one night and she left the bike on the back patio.
“You can’t trust people any more,” Fox said. “She went out to get it and it was gone.”
Fox added: “She spent her own money on it. It was new. All of her friends were out there riding and she had nothing now.”
After finding out about the theft, Officer Mike English sent an email to the Police Department and city hall to collect donations.
“We attempted to find the bike,” Lt. Dave Birckbichler said. “(English) was moved by the young lady’s story. He took up a collection in the office and found an identical bike. They presented her with a replacement bike.”
English was on vacation in Georgia when officers Al Rowland, Derek Crooks and Todd Grice brought the 20-inch BCA mountain bike purchased at Walmart to Jayden, who will enter the fourth grade at Buckeye Primary.
“I was at the pool in Georgia,” English said. “My mom sent (Fox’s Facebook post) to me and said, ‘Did you see this?’ I said, ‘Yeah, it was my plan.’ ”
The officers spent about 20 minutes adjusting the seat for Jayden and talking to her about bicycle safety and wearing a helmet.
They also gave her a chain lock and a coupon for a free pizza at Courthouse Pizza on Medina’s Public Square.
“(Jayden) loved it,” Fox said. “She told everybody about it.”
“There are some amazing people left in this world.”
Because of time constraints, police said they are unable to put that kind of effort into every stolen bicycle report. But English said he was moved by Jayden’s story.
“We had a 9-year-old who saved her birthday money and bought a bike,” he said. “She went above and beyond. Someone took that away from her.”
Birckbichler said the officers are conscientious and dedicated.
“It’s the essence of community policing,” he said.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or email@example.com.