Ex-con uses bikes to battle gangs

Edwin Maldonado was once one of America's most wanted top 10 criminals.

•••

Published  April 8, 2007 by  WFAA.com
By Shelly Slater

Edwin Maldonado was once one of America's most wanted top 10 criminals.

After being captured and convicted, he spent 15 years in prison for buying and selling guns across state lines.

"Seeing myself on 'America's Most Wanted' was like the whole world collapsing on me," he said. "This started from hanging out with the wrong people."

Maldonado now lives in North Texas and has turned his life around. For the past two years, he has been working to keep young children in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district away from the world of gangs by showing them how to repair old bicycles for donation to families who can't afford them.

"My hope for these kids is that they become productive in society—not destructive," Maldonado said. "They're not only rebuilding bikes, but their lives, too."

Maldonado said when kids see what their hard work and generosity can accomplish, they're encouraged to do more—help more—instead of hanging out with groups like gangs.

"It leads them to drugs, burglarizing—doing things in the community that are not healthty," Maldonado said.

But bicycle repair is healthy, and young people in North Texas are learning that being good puts you in the company of the best gang of people around.

Maldonado is hoping to expand his program to other school districts.

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com