WEST JORDAN, Utah — A West Jordan family is heartbroken and pleading for the return of their late father’s bicycle after it was stolen from their garage.
Through the side gate of the Gallegos’ home, you’ll find the only exterior entrance to their garage.
“I never really come in through this door, but it’s usually always locked,” said Sheri Gallegos as she opened the gate and then pushed the door to the garage open.
They don’t come to that part of their property often — but when Sheri went into the garage on January third, she noticed something big was missing.
“I just cried,” Sheri said.
“They [probably] came in through the gate and they had to come in through this door,” Sheri assumed as she mimicked the path.
Inside, a covered car takes up one half of the garage bay; the other half is stacked high with boxes, shelving, a deep freezer and other large miscellaneous items.
Sheri walked through the narrow path between the items and stopped in the middle, staring at now-empty wall hooks with tears in her eyes.
“I don’t have anything left of him,” Sheri said, and she pushed away a tear.
The large red hooks used to hold a tricked-out, low-rider trike. The bike was candy apple green with light green pinstripes, with a black banana seat, twisted chrome throughout and a stereo box that sat between the two rear wheels.
“It was hanging from the wheels,” Sheri said as she pointed out the area where the 100+ pound bike once hung.
At first, Sheri assumed one of her family members moved the bike inside, but she soon realized that wasn’t the case.
“I didn’t check the [side] door and it was unlocked, and I knew then somebody had stolen it,” she said.
The Gallegos’ estimate the bike itself is worth more than $6,000, but to their family, it’s priceless.
“It’s not just a regular bike. A lot of our tears, money, a lot of our memories, everything is in this bike,” she said as tears rolled down her face.
The bike belonged to Sheri’s father, Gary Gallegos.
“My dad was a people person, he was a marine, a sergeant,” she said. “My dad was the life of the party; he would dance around like he was James Brown.”
Living the military life, Gary was away often. So, he bought the bike as a project, something to bring his young family of six together.
“This is a picture of when the bike was very first started,” Sheri said as she pointed to a bicycle in an old picture from 1993 or 19994. “My mom’s sitting on the frame itself.”
The family loved to go to car shows. They figured they would fix the bike up and then show it off in the circuit – but they never got that far, in 1995, Gary passed away at the young age of 44 during a family trip to Colorado.
“That was the last car show we went to, when he passed away,” Sheri said.
“He took us to the house where he grew up in, he had a massive heart attack in the car and that was our last family vacation and the last time our family was together,” Sheri said as she cried.
Sheri, the oldest of the four children, was just 15 years old at the time. In the wake of their father’s death, the family decided to finish what he started.
“This is something my dad wanted to bring into the family and he just didn’t have a chance to finish it,” said Sheri.
With help from friends and community shops, they built a new frame to make it a trike, restored its green color and tricked it out.
“So, this is what goes on the back,” Sheri said as she pulled mirrored mural of her father out of bubble wrap.
They then started showing it at the car show circuit in his honor, displaying his picture alongside a plaque which told his story and gave credit to all those who helped restore the bike in the wake of his death.
“Right after my dad had passed, we won several, several first place, several second place, best of shows,” Sheri said while the most recent trophy, a third-place award from a 2018 show, sat in front of her on a table. “We still had it out there as if he was still there with us.”
Now, for Sheri, the empty hooks in the garage remind her of an indescribable kind of pain.
“That was one of the last things we have of my dad,” she wiped away another tear.
She just hopes whoever has her father’s bike understands.
“Somebody has it that doesn’t know what the meaning behind it represents, what it stands for,” Sheri said. “It represents my dad.”
“I just want what I have of my dad left, returned,” she concluded.
The Gallegos’ said they have no clue as to who could have taken it. Since they use their garage bay for storage, they rarely open it. They also said they are new to the neighborhood, so they don’t really talk to or know anyone in the community.
The family filed a police report with West Jordan Police Department and said they have been keeping an eye on the online marketplaces – so far, no luck.
Anyone with information is asked to call West Jordan Police at 801-569-5111.