Down on luck, now out a bike

Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat /

A homeless Sonora man who had his bicycle stolen from his campsite over the weekend could receive a new set of wheels with the help of area residents.

Mother Lode residents rallied after hearing about the theft of Leland Davis's bike on SonoraVille, a local Facebook group where people buy and sell items.

More than 100 people responded to a post from Davis's co-worker, Sonora resident Jean Rago, that told the story and asked if anyone had a bicycle to donate.

Respondents offered to donate warm clothes, blankets, old bicycles, money for a new bicycle and rides for Davis to get to work.

Davis showed up late for his dishwashing job at the National Hotel in Jamestown on Sunday night after discovering that his red and black Mongoose XE-75 21-speed bicycle was stolen from the homeless camp near Highway 108 and Stockton Road.

Rago said Davis told her the bicycle was locked at the time of the theft and that the culprit will have a hard time removing it.

Davis relied on his bicycle to get to his job, Rago said. He often made the trek from Sonora to Jamestown in dark, cold and rainy weather.

Restaurant patrons visiting from Santa Barbara overheard an infuriated Rago talking about the incident and offered to help. They gave her $30 to put toward a new bike for Davis and said they would donate more if needed.

Rago submitted the post to SonoraVille that night and woke up Monday morning to find several people asking how they could help.

"We live in a community where people are going to help somebody who needs it," Rago said. "It brings tears to my eyes. I have goosebumps."

Rago announced Tuesday on SonoraVille that clothing and other items can be taken to the National Hotel, and monetary donations can be dropped off at J.T. Cycles on Washington Street.

Shortly after the announcement, a $30 donation was brought to J.T. Cycles, said owner Jon Tonnesen.

"It sounds like (Davis) is a hard-working man," he said. "It seemed like a good thing to do to help out."

Tonnesen said the shop only needs to raise enough money to cover the cost of the bike, which would be around $300.

J.T. Cycles will accept donations from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays until enough money raised.

Rago said Davis never asks for help and teared up when she told him he could be getting a new bike with money donated from the community.

"We live in a community where people help and it makes me feel proud," Rago said.

The Union Democrat
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