BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA9) – Montgomery County police are looking for the thief that stole a “ghost bike” that was left as a memorial where a bicyclist was hit and killed last year.
It was more than just a bicycle painted white … the widow of a decorated Navy Seal struck and killed on his bike last summer opens up on what that the theft of his Ghost Bike means to her.
The fatal collision that took the life of Tim Holden, a highly decorated former Navy Seal and retired Captain, happened in Bethesda in the early in the morning of August 28, 2015, as he was on his way to meet his daughter. It would be about four months before his family could lay Holden’s body to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
“We drove home and the bike was there. It was night and it was almost glowing. I mean, so much so that I stopped and looked back,” says Pam Holden, Tim Holden’s widow, when driving past the crash site one night, she noticed something different, a Ghost Bike.
Ghost Bikes are memorials members of the cycling community put up whenever one of their own is killed on the road. For Tim Holden’s family, his brother and his wife who never got to say good-bye, the Ghost Bike became a place of comfort.
“I just really felt like I didn’t have a place to go and once the bike went up, that became a place where I went. I kid you not, I walked up there every day and used to go up there every day and I’d just sit by the bike,” said Pam Holden.
That’s what the family says someone stole from them. The Ghost Bike was reported missing from its Bethesda location last Friday. Montgomery County Police believe it was taken around Memorial Day Weekend. Pam Holden tells WUSA 9 she first noticed it missing when she went the Friday before Memorial Day to collect and wash the American Flag draped over the bike.
Before taken, the Ghost Bike sat near the scene of the fatal crash on the 6100 block of Massachusetts Avenue near Osceola Rd. It serves as a memorial to the lives lost and a reminder to drivers, it’s not just cars on the road.
“It’s disgusting to have that symbol stolen,” said Peter Klosky, the cyclist who put up the Ghost Bike. He tells WUSA 9 he did so touched by Holden’s life story.
“I have trouble understanding the motivation for someone to be this disrespectful of what’s essentially someone’s grave marker,” Klosky said.
“If they’re out there, please just bring it back,” pleaded Pam Holden.
The family says the Ghost Bike, an American Flag and Seal Trident were all taken.
“That’s why we life through Tim is through that bike,” said Tim Holden’s brother, Peter Holden.
This is not the first time police are dealing with a stolen Ghost Bike. They’re offering up to a $10-thousand-dollar reward for information leading to an arrest. You can remain anonymous.
The “ghost bike” was left to honor former Navy SEAL Tim Holden, who was killed last year riding along Massachusetts Avenue in Bethesda.
Police said sometime between May 26 and May 30 the bike was stolen.