ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Max Sterns and his dad Jeffrey have experienced a range of emotions in the past 24-hours ranging from disappointment and sadness to anger.
Sometime yesterday, a thief stole Max’s bike from the bike rack in front of the downtown Hyatt in St. Petersburg, where he had it locked with a cable.
Max is 20-years old and has a number of ailments including autism and mild cerebral palsey. He can walk, but not very far. The bicycle was his main mode of transporation.
“Heartbroken, shocked. That a bike can be taken away in this city,” said Max. “This bike is my freedom, you know? And, actually, it’s my only way of getting around. And I really take it out every day and I love it.”
Max, his dad and stepmom have been staying at the hotel for the past several days since the birth of his baby step-sister. The baby is still in the hospital so the family wanted to stay close rather than commute from Palm Harbor every day.
Max brought his bike so he would have something to do when his dad and stepmother are at the hospital. The bike is a pricey three-wheeler with large tires and Jeffrey says, is perfect for someone like Max.
“So, Max can’t ride a two-wheel and he used to ride an old granny skinny three-wheel, until we found this one haha,” said Jeffrey. “It has fat tires and he’s really stable on it. He can go around corners, not fall, that sort of thing. “
Jeffrey noticed the bike was missing when he returned from the hospital on Wednesday and immediately filed a report with the police. A spokeswoman for the St. Petersburg Police Department tells 8 On Your Side, a detective has already been assigned to the case and has combed the area looking for any surveillance video but so far, has not had any luck.
Jeffrey Sterns is hoping because the bike is so unique, someone will spot it, or perhaps see an ad on Craigslist or Offerup and contact police.
“It should be easily identifiable. You don’t see a lot of them,” said Jeff. “When he is out he gets comments all of the time.”