Specially designed bikes stolen from Ann Arbor nonprofit

Bikes were stored in trailer which was swiped from behind facility


ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Specially designed bicycles, which gave disabled people a chance to enjoy the outdoors, have been stolen from a nonprofit organization.

The Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living had stored the bikes in a trailer behind its facility on Research Park Drive. On Monday morning, CEO Jim Magyar discovered someone broke a lock on the trailer hitch. The trailer and the equipment are gone.

"Your heart just drops right out," he said, while standing in the empty parking space. "A lot of people will be disappointed because we don't have that equipment."

One of them is Carolyn Grawi, who has been legally blind since 1987. She can enjoy long distance biking with a specially built tricycle.

"It feels like freedom. It's an opportunity to be outside--out there with a group," she said.

Other bikes allow people in wheelchairs to pedal with their hands. The Center puts the loss, including the trailer, at about $30,000.

"We've been putting those bikes together with the help of grants and other funding for the last ten years," said Glen Ashlock, the Center's sports and recreation director. "Now they're gone."

The bikes were kept in the trailer for winter storage, Disabled people were about to start using them again, many off them to train for an annual ride across Michigan.

"I don't want to have to share this news," said Ashlock.

The Center hopes surveillance cameras in the neighborhood may yield some clues.