COSTA MESA Phil and Katie Cartier have faced one setback after another.
Last year, Phil Cartier, 66, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. To cover his costly medical treatments, the couple plans to sell their three-bedroom Costa Mesa townhouse of over 20 years near Baker and Bear streets and move into a rental nearby.
On Dec. 16, they packed a chunk of their belongings, along with a $400 Schwinn tricycle that Cartier said has given him a sense of mobility, into a portable storage pod near their cul-de-sac.
In less than 24 hours, the container was broken into and the bike was gone, Phil Cartier said.
Cartier said the theft was particularly disheartening because the bike was his only option for exercise because of the toll of weekly chemotherapy treatments. He has lost 70 pounds since February, he said.
“Other than just walking, that’s all I have,” Cartier said during a chemotherapy appointment at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. “I could take very little and get a lot out of it. It’s a personal violation and it’s a whole host of bad problems.”
The couple filed a report with the Costa Mesa Police Department.
Bicycle thefts are fairly common, and identifying thieves is tough, according to a Justice Department bicycle theft study. Determining proof of ownership is difficult if the bike isn’t registered or the original receipt is not kept, the study said.
“The majority of bicycle owners cannot supply sufficient details to assist an investigation,” the study said.
The Cartiers purchased the tricycle on eBay and Phil Cartier and a friend spent two weeks assembling it.
Cartier, who stays inside his home most of the time, used the bike for several minutes at least three times a week while his wife walked the couple’s dog around their neighborhood.
“I was with him so that I knew that he was steady on his feet,” Katie Cartier said. “It wasn’t like a marathon at all but it was little goals that meant a lot.”
The Cartier’s can’t afford…