Thieves target disabled Bristol man's bikes
Wind, rain and even snow can't keep Paul Bohac from riding his bike around Bristol. Well, maybe if the snow has accumulated.
Still, Mr. Bohac doesn't choose to ride his bike because of his love for the outdoors; his bike is his sole means of transportation. His disability prevents him from being able to drive a car.
"When I was 26 I was in a coma for three weeks," said Mr. Bohac, now 53. "Unfortunately I was involved in a very bad car accident and snapped both my femurs."
Driving requires a higher level of function, which disables Mr. Bohac from operating a car.
So, he contently rides about town on his bike. That is, until it was stolen - twice - earlier this month.
On Oct. 5 around 11:13 a.m., Mr. Bohac rode to the town library in Hope Street and left his bike just outside of the entrance. He's never had a lock or a chain, but he never thought he needed it. His bike was gone within the half-hour he was inside.
"It was just a bad place to leave my bike," he said. "It was my irresponsibility for not locking it up."
His family replaced his loss with a new bike, at a cost of $400.
Then, on Oct. 14, while Mr. Bohac was volunteering at the Bristol Good Neighbors soup kitchen, his bike was stolen again. This time, he had brought the bike inside the building, but that apparently didn't deter the thief.
"It was a Monday and I don't normally help on Monday but I called down to see if they needed help, and they did," said Mr. Bohac, who has been volunteering at the soup kitchen weekly for the past 19 years.
"I was washing dishes and had my bike in the side room. I didn't think I needed to lock it up in there."
Sometime during his volunteer shift, the bike disappeared.
Bristol police have followed up on leads, but nothing has produced a solid answer. They would not comment further as the investigation is still open.
That's OK, Mr. Bohac has said. He remains optimistic despite the disappearing bikes.
"I take it in stride," he explained. "There could be a lot of other issues. I could say it was just a bike, but it was my sole means of transportation. There are a lot of other things going on in the world."
Mr. Bohac's efforts and needs are not lost on members of St. Michael's Church. Several stepped up and bought him another new bike. They wished to remain anonymous.
"It really makes me feel good that they did that," he said.