BETHESDA, Md. - A bicycle left as a memorial where a retired Navy SEAL was struck and killed by a vehicle last year in Bethesda has been stolen, according to Montgomery County police.
The all-white "Ghost Bike" draped with an American flag had been in the area of 6100 block of Massachusetts Avenue and is believed to have been stolen at some time between May 26 and May 30, police said. FOX 5 has been told a metal award that was in a zip-lock bag is also missing.
The bicycle was placed at the collision site in honor of Timothy Holden, an avid cyclist, well-known businessman and a highly-decorated Navy SEAL who served in the Gulf War. The 64-year-old man was on his way to meet his daughter on August 28 when he was struck by a 22-year-old driver on the roadway.
Peter Klosky bought and painted the Ghost Bike after Holden's death. The family friend was heartbroken after hearing what happened to the bicycle.
"Puzzled by the disrespect," Klosky told FOX 5. "Tim was a great guy. He was a great dad. He was a great husband. He was a great Navy SEAL.
"The message is that symbols are important and we deserve to be able to have a memorial by the side of the road. Tim Holden's death shouldn't just be completely forgotten. The message is that bicyclists are people too."
This is not the only Ghost Bike stolen in Montgomery County. FOX 5 has also learned there was another one stolen near Quince Orchard Road. What makes these Ghost Bike thefts strange is the pedals of the bikes are typically removed.
Months after his death, Holden was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. He left behind a wife, five daughters and three grandchildren.
Ricardo Freeman was charged with negligent driving for the fatal accident.
Anyone with information about the theft of the Ghost Bike is asked to call police at 240-773-6710. Anonymous tips can be left with Crime Solvers of Montgomery County at 240-773-TIPS (8477) or text MCPD and your tip to CRIMES (274637).