Newton Kansan

It started as a normal trip to the grocery store for Alison Phillps, 39, of Newton. But it ended differently than normal.

Normally she would put her purchases in a basket on the back of her adult sized tricycle and pedal home. But Aug. 3 that didn't happen — she came out of the store and her only form of transportation was gone.

"I was stunned, and scared," Phillips said. "This is my only way of being independent. Growing up my bothers and sisters were able to go out do things I could not. This felt like they took a piece of me away."

Newton Police report there's been an increase in bicycle thefts in the city — though there is an increase every summer.


Philips suffers from health problems that make it impossible for her to drive a car — or even on a normal tow-wheel bicycle. Her three-wheel adult tricycle was all she had to get around.

The family called the Newton Police Department, and started checking area pawn shops. They also checked with the Newton Bicycle Shop which specializes in used bicycles.

But her tricycle was nowhere to be found. Dillon's offered to help replace the bike — and then a call came from NPD. Officers had recovered her tricycle Thursday — missing the seat, hand grips and other parts, but the bike was found.

"We have recovered a few bicycles and gave them back," said Lt. Craig Dunlevy, Newton Police Department. "It helps if you put identifiers that are specific to your bike on your bike. You can register your bike with the department and tag the bike in a discreet place. Those tags are offered free of charge."

Alison was lucky — her bike was unique and recoverable. Her luck didn't run out there, either. Newton Bicycle Shop helped her replace the missing parts and get back on the road.

"We live in an amazing community," said Sally Phillips, Alison's mother. "These guys took it and redid it for her. Dillon's called, they felt so bad and they wanted to collect money to get her a new bike."

Newton Police encourage two ways to deter bike thefts — registering bicycles with the department and locking a bike up — even when entering a store for just a few minutes.

"Don't think it will not happen to you," Dunlevy said. "It is a crime of opportunity. If they have the opportunity they will take it."

Dunlevy said to look for a bike rack to lock a bike too, and if a bike is stolen to call Police right away.