PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A box truck with 27 REI bikes inside was stolen from a Boy Scouts volunteer at his home in Vancouver on Monday, a crime that affects the children who would have gotten to use those bikes.
“These aren’t just bikes, they are a way for kids to enjoy their outdoor experience and another way for them to connect with the outdoors,” said Chris Herold, the resident camping director for Cascade Pacific Council Boy Scouts of America.
Between the truck and the bikes, it’s about a $28,000 loss – but it’s not just the monetary loss that’s a blow.
For scouts who come to Camp Meriwether along the Oregon Coast, the mountain biking trails are high on the list of favorite activities.
“2.5 mile mountain bike trail with rollers and jumps and skills course and all kinds of stuff there… so it takes a big fleet of mountain bikes to keep that operating,” Herold noted.
Herold explained that each year the organization sells the fleet and uses that money to buy new bikes.
“It’s easier to buy a new fleet, then you don’t have to do all the repairs and maintenance and you’re giving the boys and girls who come to camp this top of the line equipment,” Herold said.
Herold said on Monday a white Ford box truck filled with bikes ready to sell was stolen out of a Boy Scout volunteer’s driveway in Vancouver.
“That’s a blow, as if COVID and one of the wildfires that took out part of one of our camps wasn’t enough,” Herold said.
Now, if scouts want to undertake the challenges of these trails, they’ll have to find another way to pay for new bikes.
“We try to be really good stewards of the money because it’s kids raising money to go to camp that ends up paying a lot of these camp expenses, and so you hate to see it go missing because you want them to have the benefit of what they’ve done,” Herold explained.
Herold told KOIN 6 News they try to keep camp affordable, but that’s proving to be more of a challenge with inflation and the rising costs of goods.
But even this can’t keep a good scout down.
“We’re scouts, we figure stuff out – we’ve got grit but it is a setback,” Herold said.
His message to the thief or thieves: “Bring them back! Bring them back, for crying out loud. Don’t take bikes away from kids. If that’s not wrong what is?”
Herold says the bikes are light gray REI brand. The truck is a white 2006 Ford Econoline 450 with Oregon plate T610572.
If you have information that can help recover the bikes or truck, contact the Clark County Sheriff’s Office or the Cascade Pacific Council, Boy Scouts of America at 503-226-3423. If you would like to donate to help replace the stolen equipment you can do so here: https://cpcbsa.org/camp4all.