FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Veterans returning to normalcy after serving their country often take up a hobby to help with the transition. Robert Kugler took up biking -- that is until a person stole his unique bike out of his SUV earlier this week.
Kugler, who served as a U.S. Marine, is an active member in a veteran program called Ride 2 Recovery. The group helps give veterans who are coping with mental and physical injuries an outlet and means to overcome.
His bike, which he described as a unique, small production run of just 10 units, is one of his beloved possessions. It's one he has taken from Alaska to California, Utah to Nebraska, Kentucky to Florida and more.
He, along with his three-legged dog, traveled to Colorado as part of a trip to use that bicycle. The fun was cut short when the bike went missing from the back of his SUV. A person snipped a lock he had on the bike for protection.
Kugler, who lives in Nebraska but is staying in Colorado for a vacation, put out a call to help in a fashion as unique as his bicycle. He penned a letter to the unknown person who stole his bicycle.
The message has reached tens of thousands, with nearly 2,000 sharing it to help spread the word.
In his letter, he calls the person a "criminal" but says they have a chance to change. The letter came with a warning.
"So, I'm sure you've already noticed that you have a great bike in your hands, otherwise why would you have stolen it? It's also likely that you have already understood that you can never ride, nor sell that bike in its entirety," Kugler wrote. "It's completely recognizable and there will not be a single bike like it in the state of Colorado."
He warned that the message is growing, and the $2,500 bicycle isn't worth much, as he circulated the word to pawn shops and bicycle stores.
"See, you haven't stolen an objecy, you've stolen a part of me," Kugler said. "You've taken something that you had no right to even lay your hands on, let alone cut from its lock and claim as your own."
The person who took the bike is offered a laurel branch -- one with no questions asked.
"Take this bicycle, in one piece, to any local shop here in Ft Collins, and just drop it off at the front door with a note: 'For Rob Kugler and the members of Ride2Recovery, thank you for understanding.'"
As Kugler waits for the thief to do the right thing, he's not letting the setback slow his recovery. Kugler has another bike on loan and is continuing to enjoy the last warm days of Colorado weather.
He and his dog Bella will continue to enjoy life and put out "good energy." He says it always makes its way around, and he's expecting that to happen with this thief, too.