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Stolen bike brings community together to make things right for teen in Kingsville

Posted at 1:38 PM, Sep 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-08 00:36:46-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — 16-year-old Michael Silver Juarez pumped his arms into the air as he saw a brand new bike pulled down from a truck in front of his apartment on Thursday.

It was for him, to replace the bike that was stolen Monday night.

Michael, who has autism, was riding his bicycle outside his mother's apartment complex Monday night when he was called inside.

Covered in mosquitoes, he dropped the bike outside and ran into the house.

When Michael's mother went back out to retrieve the bike, she noticed her son's bike was gone.

This left Michael heartbroken, so his mother reached out to the Kingsville Police Department, and the Facebook community about the bike to see if she could get it back.

Immediately, R.N. Gutierrez and Viola Perez got involved to make it right.

“Everybody wants to help, but I didn’t see nothing within an hour saying lets do something. So, I said you know what lets do this,” Gutierrez said.

He let members of his car club, "Vertically Challenged," know about the situation and everyone began donating money. Then more community members started donating.

After raising around $250 in donations, a new bike was bought for Michael and a gift basket with his favorite snacks for the bike's "snack basket."

"I'm sorry that happened to you, brother. I'm sorry they stole your bike, but we got you another one man," Gutierrez told Michael as he surveyed the new bike.

Michael's mother, Estella Espino, said he was hurt to learn his bike was stolen.

"He cried. What was he going to ride? That was his hobby," she said.

Even then, she said she felt her son knew good things would come his way.

"He prays everyday. So, he did pray for a bike. So, I know that in his heart he felt that he would,”
Espino said.

Michael's favorite places to eat also heard about the theft. Whataburger prepared him a gift basket loaded it up with gift cards. Chik-fil-a also pitched in some gift cards.

Then Gutierrez handed Espino a hand written note, signed by the people that helped make this happen.

"Miracles do happen," Espino said. "It's a blessing."

"I’m not doing it for the fame or nothing like that... Just to let the community know that Kingsville cares,” Gutierrez said.

Before buying the buy, Gutierrez checked Facebook Marketplace and thought he found the stolen bike and could buy it back. He said Kingsville Police Department looked into the post he saw, but no luck.

As police continue to look into the theft, Gutierrez said they still want to help. They're hoping to get Michael something from another favorite restaurant, Pizza Hut and a pair of his favorite sketchers shoes.