It’s not quite stealing candy from a baby, but it’s pretty darn close.
For several months, thieves have been stealing bicycles and tricycles from the Child Crisis Center of El Paso, an organization with a mission to protect children from abuse and neglect.
“If you could only hear the story of some of the children who come here. The abuse they’re experiencing, the crisis they’re involved in… and these toys, what we provide them during their stay, it really is therapeutic for them. They need it, ” said former Police Sergeant Al Velarde, who is now the director of the center.
Velarde said it’s terrible someone would steal from needy children.
“I’m disgusted,” Velarde said.
Since February, there have been several thefts from the center’s back porch.
Workers have tried different ways to lock up the bikes, but the thieves just get around them.
“Over the Christmas period we had 50-55 bikes the kids could use, many of them brand new. And now we’re down to a very few,” said Velarde.
He said the thieves jumped this fence. The first few times, they stole several of these bikes.
This time, they actually broke the lock to the shed and stole construction equipment.
“We operate on a shoe-string budget,” explained Velarde.
As a non-profit, he said the economy is enough to deal with.
And it’s even harder when items are stolen.
“Have a heart. When a bike is stolen from here that’s a bike children could be using to play and to be getting their mind off the crisis that their experiencing,” said Velarde.
If you know anything about who might be stealing the bikes, call Crime Stoppers at 566-8477.