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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — A Burger King worker never thought the problem of his stolen bike could be solved over lunch, but he received a "whopper" of a surprise Wednesday.
Troy Roberts, 35, couldn’t believe that roughly a half hour after a conversation with Cottonwood Heights Police Officer Steve Olson about the stolen bicycle, Olson would return with a brand new bike.
“I was stunned,” Roberts said. “It just means a lot to me. I won’t forget this memory for my entire life.”
Roberts’ old bicycle had been stolen weeks ago from outside his apartment, near Redwood Road in West Jordan.
“(My father) said, ‘Look out on the porch—your bike is gone!’” Roberts recalled. “I was heartbroken at that time.”
Roberts said he had one prior conversation with Olson, soon after the theft, when he stopped by for food.
Roberts’ co-worker, Larcy Sayetsitty, said Olson came in again Wednesday and started asking Roberts about the bicycle.
“He was asking him questions, saying, ‘What color was your bike, where was it stolen.’ He just asked him about the description of his bike, and then Troy told him what kind of bike it was, what brand it was, and then the officer left,” Sayetsitty said. “And then (after) 30 minutes to an hour, like two, three officers came back.”
Sayetsitty said the officers brought in a bicycle and asked to talk to Roberts.
“They told him, ‘We have a surprise for you,’” Sayetsitty recalled. “Troy saw the bike and he started crying. He was happy and he was surprised, and I was surprised too. I guess they bought him a bike.”
Customer Jesse Draper captured the moment in several photographs.
“The expression on his face was incredible. You could see just the sheer delight in his face and the expressions that he had and the big smiles on officers’ faces. It was just such a touching thing that I wanted people to know about that,” Draper said.
Olson declined an interview requested through his department, but Lt. Dan Bartlett said it was a good deed done on Olson’s own time and own dime.
"The young man told him that Santa had brought him the (stolen) bike and he hoped that Santa would bring him another one next year, next Christmas, and so he felt for the young man, and so he jumped in his car and went down to Walmart and got him a new bike and a nice new lock and brought it over to him,” Bartlett said. “It touched him personally, and so he felt like he should do it, he could do it and he did!”
Draper said he was impressed by the officer’s good deed.
“There’s a lot of negativity in the news right now, but this is a wonderful thing to happen right here,” Draper said.
“There’s a lot of negativity in the news right now, but this is a wonderful thing to happen right here.” - Jesse Draper, customer
Roberts said it would have been difficult to otherwise replace his bicycle.
“It’s not easy when something special like this happens to a special person like me and other people too with disabilities,” he said. “I just hope that the person that stole my bike realizes that (he) did something wrong and there’s a price that (he’s) going to have to pay for stealing my bike.”
Roberts gleefully rode his new bike around his apartment complex Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s a beautiful bike,” Roberts said. “I’m very thankful for the police officer that did this for me today. It really helps me to know that there are people out there in this life that will help you.”