Manyaga with bike that was stolen in Cape May and found in North Cape May.
CAPE MAY - A few hours after the original story was posted here, a tip on the Herald’s Facebook page led police to Solomon Manyaga’s stolen zebra bike.
The unique bicycle had been spotted earlier in the day at Mitnick Park in North Cape May by Michael Klineburger, an observant Herald reader. When Manyaga was given the news on August 16, he and an innkeeper from Poor Richard’s Inn, along with police, set out to investigate. But when they arrived at the playground the bike was nowhere to be found.
Later that day, Harriett Sosson, who originally gave Manyaga the bicycle, ran into Paul Klineburger, brother to Michael. He suggested she try looking at the Channel Apartments across the street from the park.
"So I drove up past the playground to the apartments, and there it was,” said Sosson. Lower Township police arrived at the apartments, freed the locked zebra bike, and returned it to a grateful Sosson. No charges have been filed as the identity of the thief could not be determined.
The support for Manyaga following the theft of his zebra bike has been overwhelming. “When they heard about Solomon’s bike, a lot of people wanted to buy him a new one, or hold a fundraiser to help him purchase one,” said Sosson.
Manyaga’s story had a happy ending, but many other bicycles are stolen and never recovered in Cape May County. Sosson suggested starting a “Bicycle Database,” where bike owners could register their bikes online by uploading photographs, so that if they ever found themselves in an unfortunate position, like Manyaga, they would have a way to ask for the public’s assistance.
CAPE MAY - The staff at Poor Richard’s Inn is asking for the public’s help to track down a unique bicycle that was stolen from one of their own.
Solomon Manyaga, a 22-year-old student from Tanzania, is working in Cape May for the summer and was given a bicycle by Harriett Sosson, the innkeeper at Poor Richard’s Inn, as a way to get around town.
“The bike belonged to my son,” said Sosson. “We put a new tire on it, new brakes. There was rust on the handlebars and when we took it to Swain’s Hardware, they have these different colored duct tapes available. Solomon picked out a zebra duct tape and wrapped the entire frame.”
Once Mayaga finished transforming the bicycle, Sosson took a picture. “It was so beautiful,” she said. Aware of the bicycle theft that runs rampant throughout Cape May County, Sosson cautioned Mayaga to always lock up his bicycle when not using it.
But that didn’t stop someone from cutting through the lock and stealing the bicycle from the Cape May Bus Terminal, as Mayaga traveled to Rio Grande to purchase shoes on August 9.
“He came back from Rio Grande and it was gone,” Sosson said. “Had I known he was going there, I would have told him not to leave the bike. But he didn’t know, he comes from a place where there’s no crime.”
Sosson believes the bicycle was taken on the bus and could be anywhere in Cape May County by now. She is hoping someone will notice this unique zebra-striped bicycle and call the police so that Manyaga, who works three jobs, will be able to get around town again.
“He’s a wonderful person, so sweet,” said Sosson of Manyaga. “Well-mannered and hard working, too. Someone has to have seen this bike.”
If anyone spots a zebra-striped bicycle, they are asked to call police. For someone who may be in possession of the bicycle, Sosson asks that they have a change of heart and return it.
“Please, just drop it back off at the Cape May bus station,” she pleaded. “No questions asked.”