PASSAIC, N.J. -- Community engagement is at the center of police work.
The Passaic, New Jersey, Police Department opened a case of a stolen bike and found a unique solution.
What started with a crime ended with an act of kindness that's left a lasting impression on a child and the community.
Cezar Perez is a happy 9-year-old, known in the town for his warm smile while riding his most cherished possession: his bike. But while at football practice Thursday, his bike was stolen.
Instead of finding his bike, the Passaic Police pitched in to buy Cezar a new one.
Cezar uses the bike to get to school and practice, and go to the Boys and Girls Club.
Lt. Aguirre Cruz organized the gift and presented it to Cezar.
"What I've learned from my community, what I've learned from my mayor, what I've learned from my administration, what I've learned from my chiefs is it's actually better to give than to receive. So this to us, and not only myself but my whole shift, it's rewarding ... We make a difference in his life one day, and this little boy will turn around and make a difference in somebody else's life another day," she said.
Cezar's bike wasn't the only one stolen. His best friend, Cameron, was also without wheels.
Friday, the mayor's office gifted Cameron a bike, so now the two boys are once again riding with pride.
With an attitude of gratitude and their belief in the goodness of people restored, the Passaic Police Department not only gifted Cezar a new bike but also a renewed faith in his community.
The police told the boys they'll be bringing more gifts to them Saturday -- helmets and bike locks.
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