Children looked up from their games of pool and foosball to watch 13 bikes get wheeled in to the La Habra Boys & Girls Club.
Wide eyes gave way to wide smiles as the property technicians from the La Habra Police Department staged the bikes in the center of the room.
Most of the bicycles look like they need some work, but it’s nothing a little elbow grease can’t remedy.
Nathan, 7, marched up to Police Chief Jerry Price, stretched onto his tip toes and tapped the chief on the shoulder.
“Why are all these bikes here?”
The chief replied: “Some of the kids here are going to fix them up and make them look nice. Is that OK?”
The 7-year-old nodded then surveyed the group of bicycles; some were obviously children’s bikes, while others were made for taller riders. All will soon find new homes.
“They’re going to make them new, they’re going to make them shiny,” Nathan explained, repeating his version of the chief’s answer to other club members. “I might ride one. I’m really good at that.”
The La Habra Police Department donated the bicycles to the Boys & Girls Club for a summer program that will select several students to work on them and get the bikes ready to ride.
The bicycles will then either be donated to the child who performed the work or given to another Boys & Girls Club member in need of reliable transportation, said club program director Pat Favela.
“We serve the whole city but there are some kids who can’t get here,” Favela said. “Imagine how many more we could serve if they all had transportation.”
The bikes will also be used to teach some at the club how to ride, Favela added.
“I have already seen (this program) spark the kids’ interest,” he said.
This is the second time the department has given the club bicycles from their property and evidence room — a donation that more than tripled from the first time LHPD partnered with the Boys & Girls Club.
Some of the bicycles sat as unclaimed property while others were checked in as evidence at the department.
For unclaimed property, police have to make attempts over 90 days to reunite the bicycle with its rightful owner using local newspaper ads and bulletins, said Records Supervisor Nicole Van Train.
For bicycles that were previously evidence, the time frame on when the property can be released varies, but it’s after the case has been adjudicated, Van Train said.
After meeting specific criteria, La Habra PD can either sell or donate the bicycles.
Van Train, along with CSO II/Senior Property and Evidence Technician Jessie Jaime and Property and Evidence Technician Linda Kerchner, worked for months to ensure the Boys & Girls Club could get their bicycles.
The children gathered around as Price explained to the rest of the group why the bicycles were collected in the front of the room.
He shared safety tips with the students and listened to some children share stories of how they learned to ride a bike, graduated from training wheels or liked to crash into puddles in their neighborhoods.
“Instead of giving them away or selling them, we are here to put these bicycles back out into our community,” Price said. “It promotes safety, it promotes getting good exercise and we’re happy to do this.”