COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - After initially stating he would not press charges, a shop owner who donates bicycles to needy children will pursue charges against the thieves that stole from him.
Donna D. Baker of the Columbus Police Department's Investigative Services said that Chester Jackson, owner of the East Coast Body Shop, will press formal charges following the Sept. 30 theft of bicycles from his store.
The theft - which was caught on surveillance camera - was of items that Jackson donated to children in need at Christmas.
"They took approximately 10 to 14 bicycles, which makes an impact on the giving to the children," Jackson said.
Video shows three young males outside of East Coast Body Shop, taking bicycles stored for donation. Jackson has been recycling the used bicycles and giving them to children in need for three years.
"Three unidentified black males stole bikes from behind a locked wooden privacy fence. In front of the privacy fence, the camera took a front view of an unknown black male as he was in the process of leaving the scene. There's also an unknown black male who is observed bending over in front of the privacy fence. Also, stolen from the property was a Tony Hawk bike frame, an unknown bike frame, and a tire," Baker said.
For the second time since 2012, people have stolen a portion of those donations.
"Why?" Jackson asked. "This is about a child."
The perpetrators came back twice in the same day, jumping the gate and making off with a Christmas gift for one less fortunate child.
"That's kind of heartbreaking, but we don't stop there," Jackson said.
He has donated approximately 700 bicycles to the Chattahoochee Valley community so far. Because of this, he's riding on the hope that the thefts won't put the brakes on his Christmas giving.
"We're not going to be deterred because of what the individual did," he added. "We are going to be determined that that child has a beautiful Christmas."
In addition to the video, Jackson also has still pictures showing the full face of one of the suspects believed to be a juvenile. Jackson did have a message for the suspects.
"If we lose our children to the activities that you're doing, our hope is in vain," Jackson said.
The Wishing Well Bike Giveaway will be held Dec. 20 at East Coast Body Shop. The address is 923-A Farr Road, Columbus, GA. Bikes will be given away first come, first serve from 9 a.m. to noon.
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