What started out as a sad story wound up with a happy ending.
The La Habra Police Department made sure of it.
The story begins on Christmas Day, when 13-year-old Jason Colligan received a Dodger blue (Jason is a huge Dodger fan) BMX style bicycle.
The bike, which cost about $500, was a gift from Jason’s dad, a former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy, who has been battling serious health issues in recent months.
On Dec. 26, the very next day, Jason peddled his new bike down to Walmart.
He locked the bike and went inside the store.
Ironically, Jason, the youngest of five and an eighth grader at Imperial Middle School, was looking to purchase a bike lock for his 15-year-old brother Alex.
When Jason came out of the store 20 minutes later, his bike was gone. The lock had been cut.
Jason called his mother, who came down right away and called the police to report the theft.
Officer Anthony Luster responded to the scene.
Having been saddened by the situation, Luster felt compelled to share about it with fellow officers.
“We end up getting the story from Officer Luster, who was just as upset about it as we were when we heard it,” said Off. Kevin Wolett, who is part of the Crime Impact Team, along with Off. Kyle Angel. “We kind of collectively said, hey, let’s just buy him a bike.”
They got the green light from their lieutenant and put the word out throughout the department, asking for contributions.
Officers, dispatchers, records department personnel … everyone contributed. So did the La Habra Police Officers’ Association.
“Everybody was all about it,” Wolett said.
So about a week after the bike was stolen, Wolett contacted Jeanette De La Rosa, Jason’s mother, and told her the police department was going to purchase a new bike for her son.
“I kind of didn’t believe it at first,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all. We were actually going to do a Go Fund Me and ask relatives to pitch in and get it in time for his birthday because it is so expensive. But I mean, God is good, so we didn’t have to.”
The next step was to find the exact same bike, which was more of a challenge than anticipated, Wolett said.
After looking around on the internet and making some calls, the officers wound up contacting La Habra Cyclery, a local bike shop that has been based in the city for almost 50 years.
The shop was able to custom order the bike and gave the officers a great price along with some free accessories
Of course, the officers also purchased a heavy-duty chain.
Then came the best part.
On the evening of Jan. 29, a convoy of La Habra Police vehicles, their lights flashing and sirens blaring, slowly rolled down the street where the De La Rosa family lives.
Jeanette got the family outside by telling them they were going to be going out for dinner.
The vehicles stopped in front of the home.
“I thought something bad happened,” said Jason, not yet knowing about the surprise.
With cell phone cameras capturing their every move, officers pulled the bike out of the SUV and presented it to Jason.
“It was totally unexpected,” said Jason who then added he wouldn’t have expected receiving a new bike this way.
“I’m going to ride it every day.”
But when asked what the first thing he was going to do with the bike, Jason replied, “Well I’m definitely going to lock it up.”