November 30, 2021

Independence stolen

Search ongoing for man’s electric bike

Shenandoah Briere

Dan Camp of Cortlandville shows the bike lock and charger to his electric bike, which was stolen May 15 at the Cortland County Office Building. He also still has the key. The person police say stole the bike has been arrested, but the bike has not been found.

Dan Camp frowned and looked downcast as he looked at his bike charger and lock.

“It’s the only things I have left to it,” he said.

Camp’s electric bike, which retails for more than $1,000, was stolen May 15 from the Cortland County Office Building at 60 Central Ave. in Cortland while he was inside playing pickleball in the gymnasium — something he does weekly.

“I was in a hurry and I put the lock on just like once and I think I should have done it quite a few times,” he said, noting it’s what he normally would have done. But he also forgot to make sure it was fully locked.

“He thought he locked it,” said his mother, Joyce Camp.

“He can’t remember well,” added his father, David Camp.

Dan is living with early onset Alzheimer’s and aphasia. The bike gives him independence, letting him pursue his activities and live a life without relying on his parents. It’s part of his treatment.

Be on the lookout

Dan Camp’s bicycle is a black-and-yellow Pride-1 electric bicycle, police reports state. Police ask anyone with information on the bike to call them at 607-758-8311.

After telling the man in charge of pickle ball, Joyce Camp was called. “He (Dan) was so upset at that point he could hardly talk,” she said.

She explained the situation to the police and then the Camps decided to see if the bike was nearby. The Camps had bought and attached a GPS tile tracker to the bike. However, the GPS showing the bike was at their house — the tile hadn’t stuck. So, they looked in nearby neighborhoods foran hour with police, but ended up going home dejected.

A few hours later, city police officers called them to the police station, where they showed them video of the suspect taking the bike. The Camps did not know him, but the police did.

Police arrested 17-year-old Lucas Coville, of 78 Clinton Ave., Cortland, at 1:10 p.m. Wednesday, charging him with fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony.

However, the bike was not recovered. Lt. Michael Strangeway said Coville told police that he had left the bike at another residence and when he went to retrieve the bike to return it to Camp, after having a “change of heart,” the bike was gone.

“There are no witnesses to that and no other indication to that being true, other than the original suspect saying that,” Strangeway said.

Since then, police on their daily routes have been looking in neighborhoods and checking to see if it was pawned in the Cortland, Tompkins or Onondaga counties, Strangeway said.

They’ve had no luck. Camp has been without a bike for two weeks.

For Camp, the bike was his livelihood. He had paid for it himself and used it not only as a way to get to various activities — pickleball, bowling and washing dishes at Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen in Cortland — but as part of his treatment for dementia.

“One of the big things is to keep him socialized and active,” Joyce Camp said.

Dan said he does have another bike, but it isn’t meant to go long distances and isn’t great for battling hills.

“That’s the only way I get around unless I have them,” he said pointing to his parents. “But I’d rather be myself and doing my thing.”

Although the family hopes to get the bike back, they’ve begun looking for a used one online just in case it isn’t found.