PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Bay Area Riders, a group of motorcycle riders, stepped up to help a crime victim on Monday, vowing to fix his broken-down Jeep for free.
Richard Hitchcock, one of the group’s leaders, said he felt compelled to help after watching our 8 On Your Side investigations into Bill Gebhardt’s ordeal.
The elderly Gebhardt hired two young men to do yard work last month. The next day, their girlfriends showed up, offering to clean his home. He ended up with a stolen red Jeep, gun, lawn equipment and diamond ring.
After our 8 On Your Side story, one man was arrested by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. The Jeep was found abandoned in Tarpon Springs. It was trashed and would no longer run.
“I saw the news come on and just the expression on his face, he looked devastated. And, I wanted to show him, you can trust some people,” Hitchcock said. “I also wanted to show the community that bikers are good people. We try to help the community.”
Gebhardt was overcome with emotion as he watched the group tow away his Jeep.
“I love my Jeep,” he said. “I just can’t believe this is happening.”
Gebhardt had planned to sell the Jeep after it came back home in disarray. It was going to cost too much money to fix it. But now, he has changed his mind. He’s so thankful for the help. He said he’s looking forward to driving in his red vehicle again.
“It’s not for sale no more,” he said. “I’m gonna keep her, put my little puppy dogs in there and take a ride.”
The Jeep was towed by E&C Customs Towing and is now at Spooners Tire and Auto in Pinellas Park. Hitchcock said the group plans to return the Jeep, once repaired, to Gebhardt in a couple of weeks.
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