Community helps bike drive after burglary

CARROLLWOOD, Fla. -- Even after a burglar smashed the door ofAlex's Bar-B-Qlast month and stole donation money meant to buy bicycles for kids, the restaurant still gave away hundreds of bikes on Wednesday.

"It's basically, we're thinking, close to $1,000 someone took from us," said Alex Cooks, the restaurant's owner. "That buys a lot of bicycles. We were thinking 40 kids wouldn't be able to get a bike for Christmas this year."

But Alex's "Xmas for Kids" continued for its 13th year, thanks to donations from the community. After people heard about the burglary, they donated more money than had been stolen. The suspect was captured on a surveillance camera at a nearby business, but has not yet been caught.

On Wednesday in the Walmart parking lot, Cooks and volunteers gave away 600 bicycles. Employees from schools across Hillsborough County packed them up in trucks to deliver them to students.

"It was amazing to see how the community got together to support our kids," said Susan Horan, an employee at Lockhart Elementary School. "It's absolutely amazing, and it's a blessing to our kids."

Along with hundreds of new bikes, Alex's Xmas for Kids also teams up with the nonprofit God's Pedal Power to refurbish used bikes so that even more children can benefit. Alex's Bar-B-Q is taking donations until Christmas Eve, and will start up again on December 26 for next year's drive.


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