Tools, bikes stolen from nonprofit repair service
The thieves were experts who chose costly specialty items
Early yesterday, thieves stole tools, bicycles and cash from the Kalihi workshop of a nonprofit group that helps needy residents repair used bikes for their own use.
"It's maddening that people would do this to us," said Gary Gill, program coordinator for the Kalihi Valley Instructional Bike Exchange.
The program, headquartered at 1638 Kamehameha IV Road, is part of nonprofit Kokua Kalihi Valley. Since February, nearly 300 donated bikes have been fixed up and given new life.
Gill said the thieves appeared to be bike experts.
Many of the bicycles that were stolen aren't popular with kids but have a high market value. And the tools that were taken were very costly specialty items used specifically for repairing bikes.
"The tools hurt us more than the loss of the bikes," Gill said, adding that some of the tools and sets can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. "It implies that these guys knew about bikes."
He said the nonprofit doesn't have the funds to replace the missing tools and will have to make do. Some types of repairs, he added, just won't be done.
The $200 stolen from the cash box had been donated or given to the bike exchange to pay for participants' city bike registrations.
Despite the theft, the exchange opened yesterday for its regular Saturday hours. And a handful of residents came, choosing bikes to repair from what was left of the workshop's inventory.
Gill said program participants range from kids to the elderly.
"We want people to get around without their cars," he said. "There is no way we will let the bad guys get us down."
Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call the Kalihi police at 529-3128 or Gill at 227-9218. To make a donation, make checks payable to Kokua Kalihi Valley at 2239 N. School St.