There was a reward, a toll-free tip line and a news conference—all for a lost little bike.
But this wasn’t just any bike. The foot-high, 6-inch-wide contraption belongs to Bello, the daredevil clown star of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus appearing at Madison Square Garden.
The bitty bike was taken from a Manhattan street Friday, while Bello, well, clowned around.
“Can I please have my bike back?” he said a day after the disappearance, adding that he was “very upset.”
The orange-haired, Florida-born clown said he can’t replace his trademark bike, which was built in Mexico City and has been in his family of circus performers for a dozen years.
Without it, the man once named “America’s Best Clown” by Time magazine will have to adjust the show named for him—“Bellobration.”
The bike, which is about as high as his foot is long, “is not something I can go buy in a store,” he said. “I’d have to find someone willing and able to make it.”
On Saturday, hours before the Garden show opened, he was still trying to find it—and explaining how he lost it.
It all happened on the way to the circus.
‘I don’t believe anybody stole the bike’
On Friday, the 38-year-old performer and two other clowns had visited a Grand Central Terminal shoe repair that took extra care cleaning their big show shoes.
They were headed back to the circus at the Garden when a camera crew showed up at the station’s Vanderbilt Avenue exit. The three clowns put on an impromptu show, doing handstands on the hood of a yellow cab, with Bello hopping on his bike. He then rested it against another bike tied to a street sign.
On the way back, he suddenly realized he’d forgotten his beloved prop.
He went back and tried to find it, but it had disappeared.
“I don’t believe anybody stole the bike,” Bello said Saturday after holding a news conference to put out the word. “I think someone took it so they could return it to me.”
The circus offered a $1,000 reward and urged anyone with information to call the toll-free number, 1-877-606-3052.