To the thieves, it was just a bicycle — an electric-powered, orange-colored bike they took from a Marina del Rey condominium complex.
But what the two men stole was the joy that 12-year-old Mia Timbrello felt when she rode the three-wheeled bicycle that was given to her last April by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Mia is nonverbal and severely autistic and has had a double organ transplant, her mother, Yolanda Rangel, told KTLA-TV Channel 5.
“Whenever she was able to ride the bike, her face lit up and she was obviously enjoying herself,” L.A. County sheriff’s Det. Keysha Gipson told The Times on Thursday morning. “It gave her a great sense of joy.”
Now authorities are appealing for the public's help in tracking down the bicycle, which was custom made for Mia’s special needs.
The bicycle was stolen around 2:32 a.m. on Nov. 30 in the 4200 block of Marina City Drive.
The bike was stored at a family friend’s home when the two men carried it over a locked gate at the Marina City Club Condominium complex.
The crime was captured on surveillance camera. Photos of the bicycle were also released to the public.
But the incident wasn’t reported until recently. Initially, the family reported the theft to the condo complex's security, but they didn’t realize they were supposed to file a report with police.
Because there was a delay in reporting the crime, authorities are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspects in the video and locating the bicycle.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Keysha Gipson at (310) 482-6022. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can dial (800) 222-8477