Ten-year-old Samantha Gonzalez did not expect to ride a bike anytime soon after a thief carried away the brand-new bike she had just received for her birthday.
A thief who had sneaked into her family’s garage in southeast Fresno on March 19 stole power tools and Samantha’s purple Schwinn Cruise bicycle, Fresno County sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said. The family’s home was undergoing construction and a worker had left the garage door open.
Samantha’s bike is still missing, but deputies with the Fresno County sheriff’s Property Crimes Unit on Wednesday made sure she wouldn’t be without a ride for long. They made a trip to the family’s home, where they hand-delivered a brand-new bike.
Detective Tim Jacobsen walked the bike down the sidewalk near the family’s home around 5 p.m. as Samantha, who was inside, was prepared for the big surprise.
The little girl walked out to see a crew of detectives and behind them, the new bike rolling into her driveway.
She walked shyly to the bike and held onto it for a while before she climbed on and rode it back and forth in front of her home.
Botti said the move was meant to restore a smile on the young girl’s face. The bike was a donation to the family from the Sheriff’s Foundation for Public Safety.
Samantha’s mother, Erica Vega, said she was not expecting that her daughter would be given a bike.
Vega said Samantha had had her previous bicycle for less than a week before it was stolen.
“She’s a child,” Vega said. “For anyone to do that to her, it is horrible.”
Vega thanked the detectives for the gift: “It really means a lot to her.”
Samantha hardly spoke, but with tears in her eyes, she managed to tell the detectives, “Thank you for the bike.”