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Custom-made bike stolen from IUPUI student with cerebral palsy

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –Over the weekend, a bike specially made for an IUPUI student with cerebral palsy was stolen.

As an urban campus, bike thefts and other minor property crimes happen all the time at IUPUI. What makes this story unique is what the thieves didn’t realize. The victim relies on the bike to stay healthy.

Cerebral palsy makes walking around campus a challenge for Johnson Simon. That’s why most of the time the 23-year-old graduate student uses a motorized wheelchair.

Simon also frequently rode a custom bicycle, but at some point this weekend a thief stole it right off the rack.

“My bike is usually parked right there," said Simon. "It’s real easy to recognize it."

Simon says the bright-red, three-wheeled bike was given to him by program that helps people with cerebral palsy.

“Someone like me cannot ride a two wheel bike,” he said. “To see that it’s gone right under your nose, it’s real frustrating.”

After attending Western Michigan University, Simon moved to Indianapolis last month to work as a grad student studying art at IUPUI. Over the last few years, Simon says the bike has been his main source of exercise.

“It really helped me to get my workout done. It really keeps me in shape,” said Simon.

Simon knows the thief that stole the bike off the rack in front of his apartment likely didn’t know they were stealing from a man with a disability, but that’s exactly what they did.

“They just seen a cool bike, a nice shiny bike, but did not understand the value behind that bike,” said Simon.

In the end, Simon hopes whoever stole the bike grows a heart and returns the bike right where they took it.

“Whoever took it, that bike has a lot of meaning to me,” said Simon. “Please just return the bike. It would really mean a lot to me. It was custom made for my disability.”