Girl’s bicycle stolen, so police officer buys her a replacement

Seven year-old Madison Cronin takes the bike that Patrolman Jim Fitzgerald bought her for a ride Sunday morning, (Corey Welch/WPRI)

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) – When a 7 year-old girl’s bicycle was stolen, a Narragansett police officer dutifully searched for it. But, having no luck in finding it, he decided to go a step further.

Anastasia Cronin and her daughter Madison woke up one morning this week and noticed that Madison’s new bicycle was missing from its usual parking spot outside their home. Her grandparents had bought it for her about three weeks prior to its disappearance.

Madison has a few friends on her street and thought maybe she’d left it at one of their houses by mistake, so she and her mother looked around the neighborhood but couldn’t find it. They concluded that someone must have stolen it.

“It’s a really weird feeling to have something taken right from your front door,” Cronin said.

They filed a report at the nearby Narragansett Police Department and later that day Patrolman Jim Fitzgerald came by to ask a few questions. He told the family he’d look for the bike.

“I searched the area for a couple of hours,” he told Eyewitness News, “but was unable to locate it. It’s a small bike; it could have been anywhere.”

But he decided that despite being unable to find it, he wasn’t finished: he was going to buy her a new one.

“We don’t get a lot of opportunity to do something like this,” Fitzgerald said. “It felt like the right thing to do. I wanted to do it. It’s not something Madison should have to go through. A seven year-old getting her bike stolen…it’s not right.”

So he paid for a new bike out of his own pocket.

“I called and checked with the wife first,” he said. “She was all for it.”

Fitzgerald went back the Cronins’ home a little later with a new bike.

“My husband actually spoke to him then,” Cronin said. “I overheard the conversation and was just so thrown back by how grateful I felt for somebody to step up like that and do something just so kind.”

“I couldn’t thank him enough. I didn’t even know how to show how appreciative I was of it,” she said, “so I made him a couple of batches of cookies.”

Madison was so excited to hear she was getting a replacement bike that she spent some time jumping around on the family’s couch with excitement, and then drew a picture and a ‘thank you’ card for Patrolman Fitzgerald, which the family presented to him at the police station.

The reaction to his efforts “was more than I expected,” Fitzgerald said.

“I suppose going out of my way to really put him in a spotlight has hopefully gotten across the feeling of gratitude that I feel towards him and the department,” Cronin said.

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