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September 17, 2013

Theft of special trikes tugs on hearts

An outpouring of community outrage, donations and a media blitz followed the Bee news story about the theft of tricycles used by students with disabilities at Sherwood Elementary in north Modesto.

An outpouring of community outrage, donations and a media blitz followed The Modesto Bee news story about the theft of tricycles used by students with disabilities at Sherwood Elementary in north Modesto.

Eleven specially outfitted trikes, worth about $8,500 all together, disappeared over the weekend from a locked enclosure near Darlene Pierson’s special education class. Pierson teaches 10 third- through fifth-graders with severe disabilities and had bought most of the specialty equipment herself for them to use in adaptive physical education time.

“Those bikes were huge for them,” said Kelly Gilbertson, Sherwood’s office manager. Phones rang off the hook Tuesday with calls from people wanting to help. “We’ve had so many calls. It’s just overwhelming,” she said.

Valley Harvest Nut Co. of Modesto brought a $1,000 check. The World of Wheels donated two bicycles. The Sherwood Parent Teacher Club decided to donate proceeds from its annual jog-a-thon on Sept. 27 to the cause.

A half dozen television news crews stopped by the school to cover the story. KAT Country 103 will be coming to lead the Pledge of Allegiance with the entire school Friday morning.

“It just shows you how our community comes together,” Gilbertson said.

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