Bicycle theft hurts two

Overnight loss strikes couple's independence, mutual support

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

 
photoCourtney Forbes stands next to her tandem bicycle.

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photo"This tandem was very special to the kids. They ride the tandem everywhere." Kim Turner Mother of Courtney Forbes

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photoHarly and Courtney Forbes' tandem bicycle was stolen from the couple Monday in Vancouver. Before the thieves returned it Wednesday, the couple received a tandem bike donated by Richard and Jackie Riordan of Salmon Creek. The Forbeses have decided to donate their original bike to the Washington State School for the Blind.

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photoThieves cut this cable lock to steal the $900 tandem bike, the couple's primary mode of transportation.

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Two months ago, Harly Forbes traded in his Schwinn Varsity bike and bought a Peugeot tandem so that he and his wife could travel around town together. Forbes, 22, and his wife, Courtney, 21, are both developmentally delayed and so cannot drive a car.

"She had anxiety riding around alone," said Kim Turner, Courtney Forbes' mother. "He traded in his really nice bike so that they could ride together and she would feel safer."

But about 9 a.m. Monday, the family awoke to find the bike lock had been cut and the tandem bike stolen from the porch of their central Vancouver home.

"I can't believe they would do something like that," Harly Forbes said. "I just want them to bring it back. Hopefully we can get it back."

The thieves even propped a rocking chair that was on the porch under the front doorknob, apparently so that the homeowners wouldn't be able to chase them if the theft was discovered.

Turner said that the white bike, which cost about $900, is worth more than the family can afford to replace.

"My daughter cried all morning," Turner said. "They're devastated."

Aside from the monetary loss, Turner said, the bike is a way for Courtney and Harly to be more independent.

"This is their way of getting around; getting out and being part of the community," Turner said. "It's a way for them to get exercise and really feel better about themselves."

Luckily, a neighbor had a video camera that caught some late-night action, including, apparently, the bike theft.

Turner explained that the neighborhood has experienced some vandalism and car break-ins recently, and so her neighbor had set up a surveillance camera.

Two video recordings, which show a white truck and some pedestrians with bicycles, including the Peugeot, was turned over to the Vancouver Police Department.

"We appreciate the neighbor for submitting video for us to review," said agency spokeswoman Kim Kapp. "I'm hopeful that it will be useful and a clear enough image to provide some sort of investigative lead."

Anyone who may have information about the crime or recognizes the suspects in the video is encouraged to call either 911 or the Vancouver Police Department's West Precinct during regular business hours at 360-487-7355.


Emily Gillespie:emily.gillespie@columbian.com.