By Leland Kim
MOILIILI (KHNL) - Every 18 minutes, a motorcycle is stolen in the U.S. That translates to 30,000 bikes snatched every year. And our island paradise is not immune, something an Iraq war veteran now knows firsthand.
Richard Slinger is an avid motorcycle rider.
"If the wind blows across your bike, you feel the bike sweep slightly to the left or slightly to the right, and you feel everything," said Slinger, a United States marine and a veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq. "It's just a freedom that you can't ...It's like flying."
But Slinger can no longer feel that sensation. On Saturday morning, he woke up to find his motorcycle gone.
"It's like your heart just drops," he said.
His bike was stolen from its parking spot in his apartment building. All that's left is the cover.
"I just don't understand why. I mean, literally, I worked for this bike, just to be able to have it," he said.
Slinger returned in March from his second tour of duty in Iraq. Even in the desert, he thought about his bike.
"I was pretty much dreaming about riding the whole time I was there," he said.
Now, his main way of getting around town is gone, and for him, this island paradise has lost some of its luster.
"Everyone says Hawaii is just one big family, and I'm not getting that feeling anymore," he said.
Slinger said there's an emotional connection between a rider and his bike.
"It's like losing a pet that you had for twelve years," he said. "You can't really replace it."
A prized possession taken away, from a marine who gave so much to his country.