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Bicycles taken from program that gives them away to needy kids

WILLMAR — A dozen bicycles ready to be given to needy children were removed this week from the warming shed in Lincoln Park.

The bikes belonged to the Wheels4Kids program affiliated with the Willmar Child Guide Program and Willmar Community Education and Recreation.

With financial support from Willmar Kiwanis, the program accepts donated bikes, and volunteer Jim Bode repairs them to give away.

When Bode last left the shed Saturday, he had more than a dozen bikes lined up bearing tags that read “Fixed.” When Christine Hilbert, who organizes the program, arrived at the shed on Wednesday, she found several bikes in a pile and the “Fixed” tags on the floor.

Bode had lined up the finished bikes and taken a photo of them, so he was able to show the photo to Willmar Police Officer Gene Schneider when he arrived to talk about the missing bikes.

Two doors were tagged with spray paint in the past few days, too. A pitchfork was painted on one door, and three 6s and a pitchfork were painted on another.

Schneider said the tagging could be unrelated to the bike thefts. The Police Department will be investigating the situation and how someone was able to enter the building, he said.

Anyone with information about the bicycles should contact the Willmar Police at 230-235-2244 or through the department’s Facebook page.

To donate bicycles to the program, contact Hilbert through Community Education and Recreation at 231-8490 or drop them off at the Jefferson Learning Center, 1234 Kandiyohi Ave. Donations for the program may be sent to Wheels4Kids at Jefferson Learning Center.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

(320) 214-4340