Texan Dakota gets precious mountain bike back after Cheltenham theft
AN AMERICAN teenager was reunited with his unique bike, only hours after it was stolen from outside his Cheltenham home.
Mum Keri Baldwin, from Texas, was dismayed that her son Dakota Beechler’s hybrid bike – worth about £800 and imported from the States only days earlier – was taken from their front garden in Painswick Road.
But, after an appeal through social media sites, Dakota was swiftly reunited with his bike.
It had been found, stashed in a bush, in Sandford Park by sharp-eyed Dominic Knowles, 16.
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It was a happy ending for Keri, 44, who had contacted the Echo to report the stolen bike.
She said: “We were so upset when it was stolen.
“The bike was locked up but they managed to steal it and propped open our front gate using our recycling bin. It was terrible to think people were so close to our house.”
The bike had only been in Cheltenham for a few days after it was brought into the country from the States.
It is a hybrid bike, with only one gear, and is a one-off - dubbed an Atom Lab Pimp II and is the pride and joy of Dakota, 17, who goes to Bournside School in Up Hatherley.
BMX rider Dakota said: “My dad custom-made the bike from different parts so I was gutted when it was stolen.
“I was really happy when I got it back and I am really grateful to Dominic for finding it and returning it.”
Mum Keri, who is originally from Fort Worth, added: “I love living in Cheltenham and feel that it is a very safe place so it was terrible when the bike was stolen.”
But, there was soon a happy conclusion, said Keri, who moved to Cheltenham in 2008 with her new husband.
“We’re delighted the bike has been returned and it’s all thanks to Dominic,” she said.
Dominic, who goes to Balcarras School in Charlton Kings, said he only did what was right. He is into bikes himself and said: “If I had my bike stolen, I would want it back.
“I’ve been into downhill biking and mountain biking so I know what it would have been like to be in his position.”