Van Theft Puts Oakland Youth Bike Program on Hold

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The Oakland Police Department is on the lookout of a stolen van a Good Samaritan uses to carrying bikes for struggling youth.

Howard Cato said he’s been shot, temporarily paralyzed and has even lost a friend to gun violence. He turned his life around by exposing young people to bikes, but now his youth program is on hold.

“In order for me to get bikes to people I need my van to get to these bikes to these schools,” he said. “I need my van to go out and advertise to people so they will know.”

Cato is a man fulfilling a dream. Hi youth program Flood the Streets With Bikes is a staple in many East Bay school districts.

“I go to schools, I go to the communities asking about kids never had the opportunity to ride bikes,” Cato said.

His van was stolen right around the corner of his home on 35th Avenue in Oakland.

“I know about the trouble in the streets,” he said. “If I can connect with kids before they can find someone to mentor them into what I use to do that’s what I want to do.”

Last year through his foundation, Cato gave out 97 bikes. To him, that’s 97 lives changed, and he needs his van to continue his mission.

“I would hope they would have a heart and say they took the van from the wrong person and just drop off where you left it,” he said. “There would be no hard feelings, I’d just be happy.”

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