PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It was Monday afternoon in a Southeast Portland neighborhood and Will Eggers was riding the new mountain bike he’d gotten for his birthday when someone stole it right out from under him.
Will and his brother Jack had been building up a bike ramp near SE 37th Avenue and SE Nehalem Street when a man stopped his own bike nearby, acting like he was fixing the chain.
“Then he walked over to us and asked Will if he could do a backflip off that jump,” Jack said.
Will said it was obvious the man wasn’t really fixing his bike but what happened next caught him off guard.
“I picked up my bike to test out the ramp and he just took it,” said Will.
Jack said the man grabbed the bike and took off, telling the boys he was “going to get a running start.” Will jumped on his brother’s bike to try to catch the thief and Jack followed on foot, but the stranger disappeared down a hill a block away on the Springwater Trail.
Will said he pursued the man to Johnson Creek but then stopped to call his parents. When John and Jennifer Eggers heard what had happened, they sprang into action. They alerted their neighbors and got on their own bikes to search with John taking off down the Springwater Corridor.
“My son was heartbroken, it was a bike he’d gotten for his birthday a couple weeks prior so I was heartbroken for him and sad,” Jennifer said.
The family canvassed nearby homeless camps, passing out socks and food to those they encountered along with fliers with a picture of the lost bike. The campers they talked to said stealing something from a child was crossing a line. They promised the family they would find Will’s back and bring it back within 24 hours.
And they kept that promise.
A Good Samaritan took the bike from the man who stole it and dropped it off at a local business, asking that it be turned over to police. The man who found the bike said he’d been homeless himself. An officer brought the bike home to the Eggers early Wednesday morning. Will was ecstatic.
“It felt awesome, I just walked downstairs and then the bike was there,” he said.
The family later met the Good Samaritan to thank him.
“That was really awesome because I know we have a great community,” Will said.
Will said the experience has made him want to continue helping those in need. He hopes to start a sock and food driver this fall with his friends to help those who went out of their way to help him.