Bike theft mix-up leads to surge of donations

People load up children's bikes Wednesday night after 16 were stolen from a local charity. (KATU Photo)

A charity bike theft has led to a surge of donations in Vancouver, despite some confusion about the number of bikes stolen.

It happened Tuesday morning at a semi-trailer parked behind the Walmart on 192nd and Mill Plain.

The local company Waste Connections was using the trailer to store bikes and bike helmets that it donates to children around Clark County.

Of the 700 donated bikes, Waste Connections initially thought the thieves made off with 200 of them, but on Wednesday, Vancouver police confirmed that only 16 bikes had been stolen, leaving Waste Connections to figure out what to do with a flood of donations it received in the 24 hours after the theft.

"We were given an estimated high number of the bikes that were stolen. I have talked to our company and we have agreed to be proactive and refund anybody’s money who has made a donation in cash. Waste Connections is so moved by the overwhelming generosity of this community that we are going to match every dollar that was given and we are going to go out and purchase additional bikes," said Cyndi Holloway of Waste Connections.

Waste Connections and Walmart haven't given an exact reason for the mix-up, but both sides are now focused on making sure no needy kids are left without the bikes they were promised.

"We were hoping to touch 700 kids' lives with the donations that have come in; it looks like we are going to be able to provide over 1,000 bikes," said Holloway.

Those additional donations continued to come in Wednesday night, with people dropping off bikes, saying it didn't matter how many we're stolen, only that they wanted to help.

Vancouver police are still looking for the thieves and are asking people to keep an eye out for brand new kids bikes and cheap prices, reminding you that if a deal looks to good to be true this holiday season, there might be a reason.

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