Thief Steals Veteran's Motorcycle

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A motorcycle was one Central Ohio combat veteran's method of coping with his post-war stress.

Someone stole the bike and a community is now rallying around him.

Westerville-area resident James Martin served two overseas tours of duty with the U.S. Army. He was deployed to Iraq from 2009-2010 and to Afghanistan from 2011-2012.

He says his counselor suggested trying something new to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

"I figured I'd get a bike and see how that went, and it helped a lot," he said. "Being out on the road with the wind in your face, you can clear your mind. I thought a lot clearer."

Martin says he bought a 2013 Harley-Davidson Street Glide this past April.
"It was denim black, old-school look. I love the old school bikes and this did it," he said.

Martin's wife, Cassie, says she saw first-hand how the bike helped with his transition to civilian life.

"Especially if he had a rough day at work," she said. "We live about 20 to 30 minutes away from where he works so he would ride home. By the time he got home, his frustrations would be gone."

The couple says somebody stole that way to ease frustration by taking the bike Sunday morning.

"I couldn't believe that somebody would take something like that, knowing that it had veteran tags on it," Martin said.

Martin is not alone in the search for his bike.

Members of the Ohio Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association and others in the biker community are rallying around him.

"As soon as we found out, we started getting the word out to everybody; other clubs, other states," said Michael Downey, public relations officer with the Ohio Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.

Downey says he and other combat vets took to facebook.

Within hours, posts showing a picture and description of the missing bike were shared across the nation on motorcycle-related pages.

"It really took off quick," Downey said. "Other clubs were contacting us, 'Hey, we're going to keep an eye out for it.'"

As the fellow veterans support their brother, Martin has one simple message for the thief whose freedoms he helped protect.

"I just want my bike back."

Martin says the bike's VIN is 1HD1KBM19DB664643 and had a veteran tag of 43ZAT.

If you know anything about the missing bike, call Martin at 614-795-8778 and Columbus Police at 614-645-4545.

The National Institute of Mental Health says people who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) feel afraid or get the "fight or flight" feeling from the smallest trigger.

The disorder can develop after ordeals of physical harm or even the threat of physical harm.

Read more about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment here: