Rochester, NY – The Conkey Cruisers Neighborhood Bicycling Program has been giving free rides to residents since 2012, but now their efforts to promote healthy living have been brought to a halt.
Thieves have taken advantage of their kindness.
Nurse Theresa Bowick got the shock of her life Friday when she opened the trailers for her community bicycle program.
More than 150 bikes and baby carriages were stolen from their security trailers in Conkey Corner Park. From the burn marks on the trailers, it appears thieves used blowtorches to break the locks and likely broke a fence to sneak them out.
Theresa says she was rendered to tears.
“It wasn’t tears for Conkey Cruisers and the loss of bikes. It was tears for my community because I love Rochester,” says Bowick. “I kept thinking to myself, ‘what would lead a person to this?'”
Her daughter says her mom built the Conkey Cruisers Program to bring healthy living to a neighborhood in need of inspiration.
“It’s not the community that did this to us; it was somebody that decided they deserved what we had better than the community,” attests Jacynta Harris.
Nurse Bowick says even though the trailers are empty, she won’t give up in trying to fill them again. She cherishes words sent to her from First Lady Michelle Obama, who recognized the Conkey Cruisers’ success as part of the “Let’s Move Campaign.”
“She said to me, ‘I know it’s not easy, but if we keep working hard, we can improve our health and the health of our next generation,'” recalled Theresa.
The Conkey Cruisers will hold two bike drives to accept donated bikes to replace the stolen bikes. Those will be on July 2nd and July 9th from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m at the Conkey Corner Park on 92 Conkey Avenue. They will also keep the Conkey Cruiser tradition alive with a summer kick-off on July 13th.
“For everything they took, they took a little piece, but they didn’t take the passion,” promises Bowick,
Rochester Police said they have no new information on this case, and in the meantime, Nurse Bowick says she’s looking for a new storage space and hoping that whoever took the bikes will have a change of heart.
watch the video here
written by Natasha Alford