Ten bicycles stolen from U learning center parking lot

The bicycles are used for therapy by approximately 100 kids at the University’s Center of Experiential Learning

by Nathan Halverson

Steve Rippe said his job working with troubled kids is sometimes tough.

On June 27, someone made his job as director of the University’s Center of Experiential Learning even tougher, he said, after 10 of the program’s bicycles were taken.

For 17 years, bicycles have proven an effective therapy for the center’s youth, Rippe said. He used the bikes to engage kids and to promise a carefree ride if the kids try to improve.

“That old phrase – a stolen promise – really works in this case,” Rippe said. “With all the budget cuts, we don’t have the ability to replace (the bikes).”

And that means 100 kids will not have bikes this summer if the stolen property is not returned.

The bikes were stored in a trailer, which was stolen from the parking lot next to the Experiential Learning Center at 2700 Summer St. N.E. in Minneapolis. The trailer’s hitch had been padlocked closed, according to a University police report.

Crime is up 5 percent in the University community compared to this time last year, according to the University Police Department’s crime report that includes data through May.

Robbery, burglary and theft account for much of that increase. Burglaries are up 50 percent compared to last year – 33 offenses so far this year.

Rippe said he hopes someone in the community will identify the trailer and that the bikes will be returned. But he also hopes people in the community will donate their old, unused bikes to the program.

“It really is a worthwhile program,” he said. “Piecemealing this back into place would be a powerful lesson for (the kids).”

Anyone wanting to donate a bike can contact the program at 612-627-4303.

Other police news

Michael Manifold threw two crumpled Milwaukee’s Best cans out the passenger window of a Mercury Topaz and onto Fourth Street last Monday, according to the police officer who pulled the car over. Manifold got a littering ticket, and the driver, Stephen Holland, of Fort Myers, Fla., was charged with driving while intoxicated.

“It’s not responsible to drink and drive. But if you are, it’s not very smart to throw beer cans out the window,” said Captain Steve Johnson of the University Police Department. “Don’t drink and drive, and don’t litter either.”

Nathan Halverson covers cops and legal affairs and welcomes comments at [email protected]