Thief steals bike customized for teen with disability

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Matthew Blum has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which means he has loose joints and trouble with coordination.

His family spent $800 on a custom bike for him last year.

"I take it to Rice's, and in the summer I usually ride it in the CHS parking lot with my brother Christopher," Matthew said, "but now I can't do those things anymore."

Last week, someone cut a lock and stole the bike off the front porch.

Matthew's brother parked his bike on the same front porch, but the thief only cut the lock for the bike with the special balance wheels.

"With his condition, his coordination and balance aren't good enough to ride a regular two-wheeled bike," said Nicholas Blum, Matthew's father. "He can't keep himself upright, which is dangerous, especially near traffic, swerving in and out trying to keep himself upright."

Matthew, 14, has been stuck at home since the bike was stolen.

"There's too much risk of him getting injuries to his elbow, his shoulder, his knee dislocated because somebody runs in to him or he plants his feet wrong when he stands," his father said. "This is just one of the few ways he can stay active."

The family hopes the thieves will quietly put the bike back on the front porch from where they stole it Thursday night.

"At this point I don't care about getting the person as much as getting the bike back," Matthew's father said.

"I want them to know how ridiculous it is to steal an adaptive bicycle," Matthew said, "and I want them to come clean and turn themselves in."