Community

Cedar Rapids community steps up to replace trike stolen from man with special needs

'I'm excited to have my bike back'

Dusty McArtor looks Wednesday at a license plate attached to the basket of his new Iowa Hawkeyes-themed tricycle at Goldfinch Cyclery, 208 12th Ave. SE. Online donors contributed far more than was expected to get a new trike for him after his original one was stolen earlier this month. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Dusty McArtor looks Wednesday at a license plate attached to the basket of his new Iowa Hawkeyes-themed tricycle at Goldfinch Cyclery, 208 12th Ave. SE. Online donors contributed far more than was expected to get a new trike for him after his original one was stolen earlier this month. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Dusty McArtor’s family surprised him with a new black-and-gold tricycle Wednesday after his last custom set of wheels was stolen not even a week after he got it.

A thief stole the original trike about 5:30 a.m. June 5. Surveillance video shows a person walking up to it in the family’s driveway, detaching a wagon and riding off on it.

Dusty McArtor was only 2 months old in 1994 when a baby sitter shook him badly enough to cause serious and permanent brain injuries. Now 24, he relies on the custom bike to get around.

Surveillance video of the bike theft

But since the bike was stolen, he had been waiting for it to show up again, his mother, Dawn McArtor, 55, said.

“He can’t drive a car, so these are his wheels,” she said.

The McArtors set up a GoFundMe.com page to raise money to replace the trike. Seventy-eight people contributed a combined total of $2,975 — far surpassing the fundraising goal of $1,500.

“It just touched my heart” to see the level of support the community has shown for her son, Dawn McArtor said.

The family waited Wednesday evening at Goldfinch Cyclery in NewBo for Dusty McArtor to arrive with his grandparents so they could surprise him with the new bike.

The new one has a bigger seat for stability and coaster brakes instead of hand brakes.

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It is also painted the colors of his favorite team, the Iowa Hawkeyes. The license plate on the back reads, “Iowa Hawkeyes Biggest Fan.”

“That’s me,” he said.

After checking out his new tricycle, Dusty McArtor paused and leaned against the bike shop’s counter.

“I’m excited to have my bike back,” he told the co-owner, Logan Orcutt, 30.

This is the second tricycle Goldfinch Cyclery has worked on for the family, Orcutt said.

It’s unfortunate that the original was stolen so soon after the shop sold it to the family, he said, but the community stood up to help out.

“The community ... really recognized the bike as a vehicle for freedom and for people with his type of disability to really safely engage in recreation in ways that we all kind of take for granted,” he said.

One of those who donated online was Lynda Linus, 51, of Fairfax, a speech language pathologist who worked at Dusty McArtor’s high school.

“It makes me happy that he got it quickly ... to enjoy what he likes doing again,” she said.

The extra money raised will be used to donate bikes to organizations such as Camp Courageous and the Arc of East Central Iowa, Dawn McArtor said.

And Arc will get another donation: the original trike that the police found days after it was stolen.

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Greg Buelow, the Cedar Rapids public safety spokesman, said in an email that police were notified at 12:35 p.m. June 8 that the stolen bike was located in Cedar Terrace mobile home park — three days after it was stolen.

Police were unable to identify a suspect.

l Comments: (319) 398-8332; marissa.payne@thegazette.com

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