Rochester family pleads for return of late father’s stolen bicycle

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 3:48 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – A Rochester family is asking for the public’s help for the return of the priceless bicycle of their late father and husband.

Jennifer Vielhaber just lost her husband Karl to a brain tumor on August 13. He was diagnosed in April 2021. The family lived in Wisconsin for 18 years, but after word of Karl’s of diagnosis, the family moved to Rochester to be closer to Mayo Clinic.

She described him as an amazing, loving husband and father to their three children. She said Karl loved adventure, especially mountain biking.

He had a custom Scott Spark RC 900 orange and black bike that he passed down to their 15-year-old son, as a way to let him know he would always be with him.

“We knew we would pass at some point,” she said. “That bike symbolizes him and what he loved to do and when he was the happiest. He wanted to pass that bike to his son because he wanted his son to enjoy riding.”

Last week when Jennifer went into their garage, she discovered the priceless bike was gone. She says not only is the family dealing with the grief of losing Karl, but they are also dealing with the fact that someone came onto their property uninvited.

“I felt incredibly unsafe,” Vielhaber said. “Because now, I am alone. I haven’t been alone. We were kids when we got together. I have always had him, and he gave me a sense of security. So, it was the loss of the bike, my son not only lost his father, he lost the bike. It was taken from him in a way that felt violating.”

She said a family member urged her to make a Facebook post, asking for help with finding the bike. She said she didn’t anticipate the response it received. As of Monday, it’s gotten more than 2,000 shares.

“I am a very private person,” she said. “I barely ever post on social media. I didn’t think it would get the response it got. Mr. Rogers says look for the helpers. I have thought about that so much. As soon as we shared our story, people cared. It gave me a different thing to focus on. I have shifted my focus. There are so many kind people who are trying to help us.”

Vielhaber said she doesn’t wish ill will on the person who stole the bike.

“If they needed help, we would’ve helped them, they just had to knock,” she said. “We aren’t going to press charges, we just want the bike back.”

She said wants people to know how kind, smart and loving Karl was.

“He was my best friend,” she said. “We just can’t picture life without him, but we are so thankful for all those years we had with him.”

For any information on the missing bike, they ask you to email findkarlsbike@gmail.com