Parents in Solano County warn of children bicycle thefts during pandemic

SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Bicycles are in hot demand during the novel coronavirus pandemic and now it appears that thieves are taking advantage of that. A North Bay mom says her son's bicycle was stolen out of their front driveway and she's not alone.

"So basically my bike got stolen from the front of my garage," says 9-year-old Sal.

While that might not seem like a big deal to you and me, for a 9-year-old who rarely leaves his home because of the pandemic, it's a very big deal.
"Sad," said Sal. Why? "Because it was a gift to me."

His mom Sara Berdak says the bicycle was parked outside their garage and in front of a vehicle. She says the fact that someone just walked up and took it is frustrating.

"It's been what nine months now and he hasn't seen a single one of his friends and so the only thing he has is this bike ride," says Berdak who posted online about the theft. She quickly found out that others in nearby communities have been victimized in recent weeks too.

On Facebook Melissa Moore wrote, "It happened to my daughter on Thursday and she was devastated."

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Lily Ho and her partner Tom House were on a routine trip to buy groceries in Chinatown earlier this month when they saw a man snatch a cell phone right out of an elderly woman's hand. That's when they sprang into action.

"I was blown away by how many people have been dealing with the same thing especially recently during the pandemic," says Berdak.

Employees at several Bay Area bicycle shops say the demand for bikes during this pandemic is through the roof. Adults often have to wait for the bike they want and certain kid's sizes are often limited. Officers say stolen bikes are usually crimes of opportunity and can be common.
Sal is hopeful that someone spots his Mongoose, saying part of the brake system is broken.

"If you see wires going down to the tires that's its brakes and if it has a little wire popped off from one of the handles that's it," says Sal.

His mom Sara says while getting the bike back would be great it appears they will be able to buy a new bicycle. In 8 hours on Sunday, community members raised $275.00 so that Sal can get both a new bicycle and a new helmet.

"Unfortunately, today my son saw the worst of humanity but by the end of the day he's also seen the best of it when all these people wanted to come through and help him out and do what they could to make his day better and it's just been so amazing to see," says Berdak.

Several employees at bicycle stores tell us that if your bike is stolen you should look online at sites like Craigslist to see if someone is trying to resell it.
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