Officer recovers 13 bicycles for Some Other Place

Officers Haley Morrow and Todd Jackson

"Our hero!"

Shouts of volunteers of Some Other Place, who were handing out gifts to local family's during the charity's Christmas giveaway Dec. 22, rang out as Officer Todd Jackson of the Beaumont Police Department (BPD) walked through the door of the non-profit's storage warehouse after he found and returned 13 bicycles that had been stolen from the facility overnight. 

Some Other Place Executive Director Paula O'Neal said someone broke into a storage container where children's bicycles were being kept until the day of the big giveaway, Dec. 22. O'Neal said she and other staff at Some Other Place left at about 7 p.m. on Dec. 21, the day before the event. Upon arrival at the warehouse the following morning, staff realized a thief had broken the lock on the container and had stolen more than a dozen bicycles.

"We didn't think we would get them back in time for the giveaway, so I started calling around to try to replace them," O'Neal revealed. "People started bringing in more to replace the ones that were stolen. But, it wasn't enough to replace all of them, and we were running out of time."

So O'Neal put out word on the street that she was looking for the stolen merchandise. Her initiative paid off, and she soon received a tip on a possible location of the bikes. She immediately called Officer Kody Gerber, who she said has come to her aid in the past. Gerber, who was on another call, passed the message to Officer Jackson.

"He called and told me that Paula O'Neal over at Some Other Place needed help, so I went right over," recalled Jackson. "I went to the location on Liberty that Paula had been given. I walked in and saw all these bicycles. I knew I had the right place."

Normally, BPD Public Information Officer Haley Morrow said, officers would collect the bicycles as evidence, meaning they would not have been returned to Some Other Place until after the gift giveaway. But, BPD made an exception in this case, which made Christmas that much brighter for many, said O'Neal. According to her, the officers who came to her organization's aid saved Christmas for several children who were hoping to receive bicycles during the gift giveaway. 

"Families apply in October and make a list including the age, sex, shirt size and pants size of the children in the family, along with a suggestion for a special gift," said O'Neal. "A lot of children want bicycles. We give to about 1,000 children each year. That's the goal. 

"We're thankful for what the officers did today. Now, it really is going to be a Merry Christmas."

Jackson said they recovered the majority of the stolen bicycles and bike accessories. They are still searching for the culprit of the crime. Anyone with information about the identity of the burglar is asked to contact Crime Stopper of Southeast Texas at (409) 833-TIPS (8477).

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