Human Interest

Teen's stolen bike found; reward 'going to family in need'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- Hours after a KOIN 6 News story about a teen's stolen custom-built bike, a viewer contacted Gresham police with information about who took the bike and where it could be found.

Isaiah Contreras' bike was more than a bike, his father Sal said. It was a sentimental link to his mother, who died in September 17. Sal said he and his son worked on the bike together as a way to "get him excited about life and to try and be OK with life situations, like Mom passing."

But the bike was stolen from outside the Olympic Gym on SE Stark in Gresham around 6 p.m. Tuesday. KOIN 6 News reported the story on Wednesday afternoon, and later Wednesday night police had the information they needed.

Thursday morning, Sal Contreras told KOIN 6 News reporter Amy Frazier a "viewer felt compelled to turn in the person that stole the bike."

Gresham police told KOIN 6 News a person saw the story and gave the Contreras family a tip about the bike and where it might be. 

The police were called, went to the home of the 16-year-old suspect and spoke with his mother. She said her son did come home with a bike and she told him to return it.

Instead of returning the bike, though, the teen ditched it. Then he called police and turned himself in.

He was not arrested, Gresham police said, and it's up to the Contreras family whether to press charges.

Sal Contreras added Gresham Police Officer Doug Gunderson "worked the case till late last night" and personally delivered the bike to the Contreras house.

"Officer Gunderson not only worked with the family, he also served as a mediator to have the best positive outcome to include the proper pep talk to the teen who stole the bike. Officer Gunderson is a true local hero that sees humanity for what it should be. I could not be happier with the outcome."

While the bike was missing, Sal offered a $2000 reward -- money he earned from fixing up and selling a motorcycle -- to help get the bike back. He did it for his son, he said, because "it's more important to see him smile again and be excited again because he's pretty upset and he's hating things."

True to his word, Sal said the $2000 reward "is going to a good family in need."

"I am just amazed by the turn of events," he said. "The universe works in such amazing ways."


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