UNSUNG HERO: Herrin Police replace stolen bicycle for 12-year-ol - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

UNSUNG HERO: Herrin Police replace stolen bicycle for 12-year-old

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HERRIN -- In this week's Unsung Hero, some Williamson County Police Officer's are being praised by one family after receiving an unexpected gift. After a 12-year-olds birthday gift from his grandparents was stolen, three Herrin Police Officers decided to step in and replace it.

Breaking in his new wheels, Cameron Baker recalls the last time he had a bicycle.

"I had one, just one pedal was missing," said Cameron. "And then nobody knew how to fix anything," and Cameron's Grandfather Robert Griebe.  

That was over two years ago. For his 12th birthday, which was on December 6, 2018, Cameron's, Grandparents bought him a brand new bike. But he would only get to ride it once, to a friends house.

"Him and his buddy was going to ride their bicycles and he asked me, where's my bike? I said, son, I don't know where your bike is. I said, did you leave it down the road? They went and looked, called me, somebody had grabbed his bicycle," said Robert.  

Robert reported the theft to Herrin Police. Patrol Officer Tad Thompson took down the report.

"Unfortunately, it's very common. Probably almost a daily occurrence," said Officer Thompson.  

Robert says the next day, Officer Thompson showed with more squad cars while Cameron was at school.

"I was scared for a minute. I thought, what did I do wrong? I didn't do nothing."  

Little did he know, Officer Thompson, Patrolman Toby Coffey, and Detective Salvador Tomas had all pitched in to buy a new bicycle for Cameron. The idea that came for Detective Tomas after Officer Thompson told him what the theft.

"I have kids as well so I just kind of thought, it would be a great idea if we could get it together," said Detective Tomas.  

"We couldn't find one that exactly matched the bicycle he had stolen so we got one that was very similar," added Officer Thompson.

Robert hid the bike for weeks, so that day was the first time Cameron had seen the bike.

"I started rubbing my eyes like, I thought I'd seen a light or something," said Cameron describing the fluorescent green color.
"It's a beautiful world. God does provide," added Robert.   
He was even at a loss for words when his Grandfather told him where it came from. News 3 arrived at Roberts home to witness Cameron meeting the officers for the first time, but they never got a chance to meet Cameron. They received an emergency call they had to respond to.

"Thank you," said Cameron.
"They were good enough to do this for my Grandson and they didn't know him, so it shows you what kind of heart they got," added Robert.

The officers say, even though they can't, they wish they could do this for every child and they hope to meet Cameron someday soon.

"Our biggest appreciation is just seeing him enjoy his bicycle," added Officer Thompson.

The officers say Herrin Police Department started a free program last year that encourages residents to register their bikes. They say all you have to do is take the serial number up to the Police Station. Last year the department held a community day for registering and hope to have another one this year.

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