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THEFT VICTIM GIVEN NEW BIKE

For the young victim of a bicycle thief, members of the Buffalo Police Department wrapped up the case Wednesday with a ribbon.

A week earlier, an 11-year-old West Side girl watched helplessly as a man rode off on her 10-speed bicycle, a birthday gift from two months earlier. Police arrested a suspect the next day, but the bike was gone. It reportedly was sold to someone.

A report technician in the Central Booking Bureau, who asked to remain anonymous, started a collection that generated approximately 75 donations from fellow workers in the bureau, other staff in Police Headquarters and officers from throughout the city. Still other contributions came from people who happened to be in the office to file crime reports.

The report technician said she empathized with the plight of the victim's mother, who is a single parent. "Every once in awhile, something hits you," she said.

As the result of the donations and a good-guy deal from Tom Pallas of Schickluna Bike Shop on Hertel Avenue, the girl received a new bicycle Wednesday -- along with a helmet, lock and water bottle.

The girl's 13-year-old brother was not forgotten in the gesture of good will: The bike shop gave him a "flying saucer" to enjoy the winter's snow.

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