A 31-year-old man with cerebral palsy was given a new adult tricycle Tuesday after his old one was stolen last week while at work in Santa Ana.
The tricycle was Henry Romero’s primary means of transportation. His condition prevents him from driving a car or riding a two-wheeled bicycle.
“This for me was my car,” the Santa Ana resident said.
Romero was given a black EVO tricycle worth $429 from the Orange Cycle bike shop in Orange, where he’s been a customer for 15 years. In addition, the shop also donated a new helmet, bell and bike lock.
The Santa Ana Police Officers Association and the Community Service Program nonprofit each gave half of the $291 needed to make the discounted purchase.
Just before noon Thursday, Romero locked up his tricycle on a bike rack outside a Taco Bell in the 1200 block of East 17th Street where he works part-time, said Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.
When he left to get coffee from a nearby Starbucks, he noticed the trike missing. It’s the fourth one he’s had stolen.
“I thought, ‘No, not again,’” Romero said upon seeing that the tricycle was gone.
A responding officer told police about the tricycle, and they reached out to the police officers association, the nonprofit, and looked for bicycle shops that had the tricycle in stock.
“He (an officer) got a hold of me and said this is this guy’s only means of transportation,” Bertagna said.
Employees at Orange Cycle weren’t aware the bike was going to Romero, a loyal customer, until he came to pick it up, said Al Boneta, a store employee who has serviced Romero’s tricycles for several years.
“He’s such a great guy and he’s always cracking jokes,” Boneta said while switching the out the factory-made tricycle pedals for a pair preferred Romero preferred. “When they said it was for someone who worked at Taco Bell, I said, ‘Is it for Henry?’”
Orange County Register