2013-06-27 - Bike Bandit Robs Blind East Harlem Cyclist - Daily News

Bike Bandit Robs Blind East Harlem Cyclist
Daily News
June 27, 2013
By Simone Weichselbaum


They robbed him blind.

A callous thief stole a blind East Harlem man’s two-seat bicycle — inciting a citywide hunt to find his treasured tandem bike and its cruel burglar.

Pictures of Charles Catherine’s missing olive green, $400 Schwinn have spread over social media as bike buffs share word of the disabled man’s plight.

“Theft is a trauma,” said Catherine, 25, who suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa, an eye disease that causes blindness.

“It’s a brutal intrusion in your personal life.”

Still, he likes to pedal around town with his wife Alexandra. She would sit in the front steering their cherished cycle while he would sit in the back.

The couple locked up the bike Tuesday night to a railing on their front stoop on E. 105th St. But when they checked on it the next morning at 6:30 a.m. it was gone and a kid’s bike was in its place.

“They broke the chain and put a baby bike there,” Charles Catherine said. “It was a tease. We don't know who would do such a thing?”

Alexandra Catherine, a floral designer, called 911 and asked cops to track down the crook and the missing bicycle.

“They said ‘the truth is you will never see this bike again,’” Alexandra Catherine said. “We both started crying. We have to save up to buy a new one. That will take a few months. Charles looks forward to bike riding. He loves it. It helps him feel free.”

Time’s Up!, a cycling advocacy group, learned of the caper from outraged bike-enthusiasts posting their thoughts on the thievery on Facebook and is now raising money to buy Catherine a new tandem.