Charity that helps refugees comes out on top as local prison donates a further 10 bikes after hearing news

A thief who stole seven bicycles from a charity last Monday in Boise, Idaho, apparently subsequently suffered an attack of conscience and returned three of them after the organisation issued a no-questions-asked appeal for their return.

The bicycles were stolen from the church-run charity World Relief, which launched an appeal saying “bring them back and we won’t ask any questions,” reports the KMVT website.

Later in the week, three of the bicycles, which are destined to be provided to refugees to help them establish a new life, were returned together with a handwritten note that said, “Sorry didn't mean to steal from you guys."

There’s no news on what happened to the other four bicycles, but the charity’s director, Larry Jones, was still delighted that the thief had returned some of his haul.

“We saw it [the note] first thing this morning,” he told KMVT. Everyone was kind of showing the note around and saying wow isn't this incredible."

He added: "We feel really pretty good because it indicates to us the person who stole the bikes has a conscience, has a heart and responded to our situation and our plea to him."

Talking about the eventual recipients of the bicycles, Mr Jones said: "Refugees have often times waited for 25 years in a camp to get on with their lives. And so we feel it's very important that any of them who arrive in Boise are given as much help as we can give them."

As it turned out, despite the thief returning only three of the seven bikes he had taken, the charity made a net gain out of the episode thanks to a local prison just across the state border in Oregon.

"The director of the minimum security facility over in Ontario had seen the news report,” explained Mr Jones.

“He was home with his children and he started talking to one of his sons about it and then he got clearance from his supervisor to bring some of the bicycles the inmates had refurbished and donate them to World Relief."

That resulted in the charity gaining an additional ten bicycles.

"It was a great lesson all around. We just had a great time rejoicing with him as we unloaded the bikes,” Mr Jones concluded.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.