UPDATE: Shortly after publication, the Salt Lake City Police Department tweeted that the bicycle had been recovered and returned to the Rumseys. The Department wrote: “Thanks to an alert community member, the bike was recovered and returned to the owner. This is a prime example of working together with our community to solve crime. The investigation into the theft remains ongoing.”

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Rumsey family owns a bicycle that’s hard to miss. It’s shiny, red, and unlike most bikes, has three seats all joined together for a tandem riding experience.

Chances are there aren’t many like it, which caused the family’s patriarch, Dave, to notice when he spotted a stranger walking through downtown Salt Lake City with the bike last week.

On Thursday as Rumsey and his wife, Merle, were getting off the train at the City Center TRAX station on their way to their duties at Ensign College as senior missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when they made a startling observation. They saw a man, who they would identify to police as around 6-feet tall with short dark hair, between 25-35 years old, making his way towards South Temple with the bike in tow.

It took a second for Rumsey to react, since he was sure the bike was locked up in the garage of their apartment building.

“This guy walks right by us and eventually, I think ‘That’s my bike!’” Rumsey recalls to ABC4.com. “By this time, he’s down the street a little bit, and being as old as we are, we can’t run. I tried to hail him down, and of course, he turns the corner, gets on, and shoots off.”

Now, the Rumseys, along with the Salt Lake City Police Department, are asking the public for help in finding the bike. They’re not so concerned for the monetary value, although Rumsey notes it was an extremely expensive, custom-made bicycle, what really makes them motivated is the intangible value of the bike.

It was built-to-spec with three seats so that their 36-year-old son, Ford, who has Down Syndrome, could join his family on the bike rides they all enjoy so much. While Ford can ride a solo bike on his own, having the tandem bike gave his parents the peace of mind that he could stay safely on the side of the road.

Riding together has also been a great bonding experience for the family.

Since the bike was ordered and assembled around 18 years ago, it has been a cherished vehicle, not only of transportation but of many family memories for the Rumseys. Uniquely built to be disassembled and carried in a suitcase, they’ve been able to bring the eight-foot-long bike with them when they leave their home in Houston.

“It is a very unique bicycle and we utilize that,” Rumsey says. “Wherever we’ve gone either on vacation or other missions, all three of us have always ridden together. It’s been a great experience, and it will, and hopefully will continue to be a good experience for us. We need to get this thing back.”

The theft was a brazen one. The person that has been identified as the suspect by the police had to have entered the garage of the Rumsey’s residence at the Brigham Apartment building, cut the chain that held it in place next to their truck, and simply walked out with it. Surveillance footage from the garage shows the man with a black coat, short hair, ripped jeans, and red shoes holding the bike by its handlebars on his way out to the street.

Courtesy of SLCPD

From there, multiple people, including the Rumseys themselves, saw him walking through the downtown streets with the bike.

Despite the witness accounts and a pretty good look at the possible culprit, the bike is still missing. Merle posted a plea to the public for help finding it, which was shared by dozens of folks on Facebook. The couple has even gone around, offering a reward to people in the homeless community, should they find the bike and return it to their apartment building.

Salt Lake City Police are also urging anyone who may have noticed the eye-catching bike for any tips they may have.

“We’re seeking the public’s help to locate this bike, it’s obviously unique in and of itself,” SLCPD Sgt. Mark Wian explains. “Hopefully, we can get some good information to help lead us to the whereabouts of this bicycle and ultimately, also where the suspect may be.”

At the moment, the Rumseys are quite upset. They’re hoping to get the bike back, not as a financial concern, but for its sentimental value. Ford, who is living back in Houston with his siblings, has no idea the beloved bike is gone. The family just wants it returned so they can do more rides in the future with their son.

“A lot of bikes get stolen, but this is a special one,” Merle states. “And we don’t think that it can really be hidden very well and so that’s why we want everybody to know about it.”

If anyone has information on the whereabouts of the bicycle or knows anything about the suspect, they are encouraged to call Salt Lake City Police at 801-799-3000 and reference case 22-7622.