Officers buy new bike for 9-year-old theft victim in Westwego


The officers surprised Ava by bringing a brand new bike to her doorstep after her Christmas gift was stolen.

JEFFERSON PARISH, La. (WWL-TV) — The theft of a 9-year-old girl’s bike in Westwego is getting a lot of attention on social media, not because of the crime but for the way officers treated the case when it couldn’t be solved.

At the beginning of January, Ava Hart received a bike as birthday and Christmas present. Her mother says she was playing with it outside and left it for a few minutes when it was stolen.

Westwego Police Officer Joseph Milano responded to make a report about the stolen bike.

“She was very distraught, crying,” said Milano. “It really touched me.”

Milano says he drove around the city for about four hours trying to recover the bike. When he couldn’t locate it, he took matters into his own hands.

“I know how it is, I had bikes stolen as a kid,” said Milano. “I didn’t get it back and I hated it. I really just felt like it was almost personal.”

Milano approached his supervisor, Sgt. Weaver, and asked if he could purchase a replacement bike for the child with his own money.

“She thought it was great idea and me and her chipped in together,” said Milano.

The officers surprised Ava by bringing it to her doorstep.

“The look on her face, when she got it was priceless,” said Officer Milano. “She was so excited.”

Milano says he and his supervisor did what they did because it was natural.

“Contrary to popular belief, a lot of us have hearts,” said Officer Milano. “We care about people, we’re not robots.”

Ava’s mother said the family is so grateful for the bike, tire pump, and bike lock that the officers gave to her daughter.

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