Updated: May 14, 2020 10:32 PM
Created: May 14, 2020 08:08 PM
James Chastek loves to ride his bike.
The St. Paul teenager is only 14, so he's too young to drive. The bike means transportation, freedom and something to do over the summer.
But earlier this week, he left the bicycle in the family's front yard overnight. When Chastek looked for it the next morning, it was gone.
When he realized someone had stolen it, James said he felt "angry, disappointed and confused at the same time."
His mom, Jessica Chastek was disappointed, too.
"We live in a quiet cul-de-sac," she said. "It's a nice street, so it just never occurred to us that somebody would take a bike."
Chastek vented her frustration online, and that's how Sgt. Mike McGinn came to learn what happened. McGinn oversees a special program involving impounded bikes.
"We give bikes from the impound lot to MN Bikes 4 Kids," McGinn said. "They refurbish bikes, give us back 10% of them so we can do something like this."
McGinn and a team of officers brought several bikes for James to test ride.
"Look at this one — it's a beast," James said of one of the bikes.
McGinn smiled and said, "We like to give options. The bike has to fit the rider."
James pedaled around the cul-de-sac as his family watched.
He ended up choosing a red bike with fat tires and good grip on the handles and pedals.
"We really appreciate this, especially when this year so many things have been taken from kids," Jessica Chastek told the officers.
The St. Paul Police Department and Minnesota Bikes 4 Kids have partnered for five years. In 2019, more than 1,000 repaired, refurbished bikes were given back to the community.
James's mom said his new bike will be kept safe in the garage from now on.
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