Max Sterns loves time spent on his three-wheeled bike. It’s what he calls his freedom.

I go a lot of places on it,” Max said. “I can’t walk straight, and I have balance issues. The bike has fat tires to help me with balance.”

The 20-year old has autism and cerebral palsy, so the bike worked great for his needs.

That is until someone stole it from a bike rack in downtown St. Petersburg.

It was a gift from his father a few years ago. 

“He could feel like a normal kid and look like a normal kid. It was beautiful to see. Giant smile,” Jeff Sterns said.

Max Sterns sits on his new bike, that was later stolen. It replaced his old, worn-out bike (Max Sterns)

The two are from Palm Harbor, but they’re staying in St. Petersburg for a few weeks while the family deals with a medial issue. 

The bike was parked outside of their hotel on Central Ave and University, locked on a bike rack, when Jeff noticed it was gone. It was taken in the middle of the day.

“It was on a cable lock. Someone had to be ready and cut the cable. It was really sickening,” Jeff said.

He called St. Petersburg Police, filed a police report and also went out looking for it himself.

“I’d love just to see it again for Max,” Jeff said.

Max says, to him, it wasn’t just a bike.

“I really feel bad because my bike is my freedom,” he explained. “I’m hoping someone brings it back. I can’t believe it got taken away.”