By Ukee Washington
PALMYRA, NJ (CBS) — It’s a routine crime, one that happens all the time: A stolen bike. But this time, something wonderful happened in its wake, when Palmyra Police Officers who responded to the theft were deeply touched by the victim.
Wayne Stevens loves biking every day, even in snow. His mother, Noelle Stevens, explained, “He’s 29. Mentally, he’s about eight.” He’s also deaf and has multiple health problems. So when his beloved bike was recently stolen, it hit hard.
Sgt. Stephen Coveleski was one of the Palmyra Police officers who responded.
“Wayne was visibly upset, sitting on the steps. His hands were clenched,” Sgt. Coveleski said.
Noelle said Wayne told her over and over using sign language, “‘Tall man, stole my bike, and he went that way.'”
“To see the look on his face was heartbreaking,” Sgt. Coveleski said. “I was furious, to say the least.”
So the sergeant and his fellow responding officer, Patrolman Alex Hubel, surprised Wayne with a brand-new bike.
“It was priceless. It really was. He was so happy,” Noelle said.
“Although he’s deaf, he does use his earphones,” Sgt. Coveleski said. “He gets in and rides with no hands, and you can tell he really gets into it and enjoys it.”
The happy moment, captured in a photo, has been shared around the country.
Chief Scott Pearlman of the Palmyra Police Department said, “They wanted no recognition at all,” but he is not surprised his officers’ good deeds inspired so many.
“It does help for people to know the good things that we do,” Chief Pearlman said.
“Wow,” said Palmyra Mayor Michelle Arnold, watching Wayne enjoy his bike. “Words can’t describe the joy I see in him and the pride that I have in our officers.”
“They made his world,” Noelle said. “They put a smile back on his face, and I can’t thank them enough.”
Sgt. Coveleski says 99 percent of his fellow officers would have done exactly the same thing that he and Patrolman Hubel did.
The thief is still out there.