It was a sad day for 11-year-old Christian Cadieux when two teenagers made off with his special birthday gift.
Christian’s dad, Ray Cadieux, bought his son a 2012 black Diamond Back BMX bike with rear and front wheel pegs.
After only having it for four days, Christian and a friend decided to hit the Gaetz Park trails on their bikes at the entrance of 47A Avenue and 57th Street, in the Waskasoo area, on April 26, only a couple blocks from where he lives.
The boys briefly stopped to pick up a ball when two teenagers, a boy and a girl, came out of the trees and grabbed both of their bikes. Christian said the boy looked to be about 15 and was wearing a New York hat and had brown hair. The girl, about 14, had blond hair and was wearing sunglasses.
The incident took place between 5:30 and 6 p.m. and is one of several blatant personal robberies in the city of late.
“There were threats made, they scared the two little boys. Christian was pretty heartbroken and crushed about the whole event,” Cadieux said on Thursday.
Karen Mulligan, Christian’s grandmother, said she is just happy that the boys didn’t get beat up.
She said a man who witnessed the incident and tried to chase down the culprits. The unknown person also reported the incident to police, Mulligan was told by officers.
This is not the first bike that has been stolen from Christian. Last summer, culprits cut the boy’s lock and unleashed his bike from the front porch of his home near 54th Street.
Cadieux plans on buying his son another replacement bike but says he is in shock that the $300 BMX was stolen this way.
“I never did this to any of the kids I grew up with and it was shocking to me to hear that he didn’t even have the bike four days and two bullies took his and his friend’s bike,” Cadieux said.
“I was hoping that this makes parents aware that your kids might be a block from home but they are never safe.”
Cadieux says he is going to buy Christian a whistle so he is able to alert others when someone who he doesn’t know approaches.
“I didn’t feel very good,” Christian said. “I just got it.”
Media resource officer Cpl. Kathe DeHeer said they are seeing more of this type of robbery but it doesn’t appear that they are being committed by the same people or that there is any rhyme or reason to them. She says in once instance a culprit demanded someone’s hat and in another, shoes were the choice possession.
“We are asking the public to work with the police and help us identify people responsible for this. That is going to be the key,” DeHeer said.
“At this point in time, we don’t know who is responsible and we are looking for people to give good descriptions.”
DeHeer said parents should encourage their children to travel in groups.
“There is safety in numbers,” she said.
“And we certainly don’t recommend that people dispute the robbers because that could result in danger.”
Police are developing strategies to identify the various culprits, DeHeer said.
On Tuesday at about 8:20 p.m., four people approached two young victims on a path near the Riverside Meadows footbridge demanding their wallets, cellphones and ball caps. The culprits, three males and a female, appeared to be 15 or 16. They were brandishing a knife and a baseball-sized rock.
Anyone with information about these or other robberies is asked to call Red Deer City RCMP at 403-343-5575. Anyone with information regarding Christian’s bike is asked to contact his father at 780-915-8864.