A thief was caught on camera stealing a bike that belonged to an Army veteran. It’s his only mode of transportation to and from work.

Every day, Jay Reichman rides his bike 4.5 miles to work, and locks it up at the Chase Park Plaza garage, before heading to his job at a nearby restaurant. But when he was ready to head home Monday night, he discovered his bike missing, and the broken lock laying on the ground.

Just before 11 o’clock Monday night, the surveillance footage shows a man with jeans, a white t-shirt and a flannel shirt walking into the Central West End garage. He cuts the green bike free of its lock, and rides it out of the garage, hitting a wall on his way out.

For the victim of this theft, it’s about more than just his bike. An Army Paratrooper, Jay Reichman worked with Bosnian refugees, until one night in 2001.

He says, “There was a training accident, and a bunch of people got injured. I fractured my legs, dislocated a shoulder. It ended my airborne, I had compartment syndrome in one of my legs, so I couldn’t jump anymore.” Reichman’s injury ended his military career.

Jay Reichman
Jay Reichman

“In the beginning there was a lot of depression, focusing more on what I couldn’t do than what I could do,” he adds, “I picked up a lot of bad habits, started smoking cigarettes.”

But recently, he turned his life around: “I just quit smoking, used the money saved from not smoking to buy the bike. And I started biking around, getting in better shape.”

That bike became a symbol of his triumph over his injuries, and helped Reichman put it all in perspective. He says, “I can’t run, but I can ride a bike, so that’s fine. A lot of people can’t walk, so I’m still lucky.”

Now, he’s trying to keep that outlook, when thinking about the thief who stole his bike and gear, worth about $2,000 altogether.

He says, “I’m angry, but at the same time, if you’re going to steal a bike, God bless you.”

Coworkers set up a GoFundMe account to replace this veteran’s bike. After our story aired Tuesday night, community members reached out and raised the money Reichman needed to replace his bike.