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Spinning his wheels: Phoenix police reward teen with bike

Christian Felix and Sgt. Natalie Simonik, with Felix's new bicycle. (KTAR Photo/Jim Cross)

PHOENIX -- Most 18-year-olds wouldn't walk a mile to work much less six miles each way but that's exactly what Christian Felix was doing until a chance encounter with a Phoenix police officer.

Now, Felix is one easy rider Thursday after Phoenix police at the North Command Station presented him with a bicycle.

"Someone who doesn't even know me just offers to do something extremely nice for me. I was just like, 'Wow,' " Felix said.

Sgt. Natalie Simonik stopped Felix one night in March near 27th Avenue and Deer Valley Road in April for a possible curfew violation. She found out a a few things, chief among them: 1. at 18 the curfew law didn't apply to him (juveniles under 16 cannot be out of their homes between 10 p.m.-5 a.m.); 2. the young man was on his way home from work, with a few miles to go, a walk he made regularly.

Simonik gave Felix a ride home. He didn't own a bike or even know how to ride one. Simonik, who was impressed with Felix's determination, jumped in to help.

"We brought him to the precinct and taught him how to ride a bicycle in the parking lot," Simonik said.

Felix's mother, Jessica Muniz, was flabbergasted.

"She cared about him and she didn't even know him. That just touched me so much," Muniz said of Simonik.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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