- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Sunday was quite a day for 7-year-old Tripp Noles.

The Hueytown boy reached a milestone in his young life when he learned to ride his bike without training wheels. To reward him, his father David Noles took him to get his bike washed and then to Walmart to pick out a surprise.

The surprise turned out being entirely something unexpected. In a matter of hours, Tripp went from having one bike to having no bike to having two bikes.

Now, he’s decided to go back to just one bike and will give the other to another little boy who doesn’t have one. “It’s been a whirlwind,” David Noles told AL.com Tuesday.

Tripp and his dad went to the Walmart on Red Farmer Drive so that Tripp could pick out a prize. While they were in the store, a grown man spotted Tripp’s bike in the back of the family’s pickup truck and took it, police said. He was caught on store surveillance video, and arrested hours later after police broadcast his photo on Facebook and AL.com.

Hueytown police Sgt. Michael Shupe said a tipster called police and gave them a name of one of the suspects. Shupe was familiar with him having dealt with him before, and rode by his house.

He wasn’t home but, but the tipster had also given police another address to check into. When Shupe got there, there was another little boy riding the stolen bike. Shupe gently asked him about the bike, and the boy said he had just gotten it today. “I knew then,” the officer said.

One of the suspects in the store surveillance pictures was sitting on the front porch, still wearing the same clothes and the Detroit Tigers baseball cap. “He pretty much gave it up,” Shupe said.

The man has been in the Hueytown jail since Sunday awaiting formal charges. Police today charged Thomas Michael Hall, 45, with unlawful breaking and entering a vehicle. His bond is set at $15,000.

Police said the investigation into the other men is still ongoing.

Hueytown police felt bad for Tripp so they surprised him by buying him a new bike that day. “We were eating at Milo’s Hamburgers and Officer (Brandon) Jones called and asked us to come back to Walmart,” Noles said. “I thought they had found his bike.”

Instead, Jones told Noles he and other officers were going to surprise Tripp with a new bike. “I said you don’t have to do that, but he said they wanted to,” Noles said.

Hours later they got the phone call that Tripp’s bicycle had been found. After talking it over, Tripp decided he didn’t need two bicycles. “He realizes he shouldn’t get everything on a silver platter,” Noles said.

They have located two families they know with boys who don’t have bicycles. They are trying to work out the details now of who will be the recipient. “I’m going to have put the training wheels back on,” Noles said.

Despite the stress of the day, Noles said his son learned some valuable lessons. “Don’t steal,” Noles said, “and call the police when you need them. They’ll be there.”

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