HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - An Aynor man has been arrested after admitting to stealing a four-wheeler on December 26, according to police.
Phillip Bryan Tharp, 27, was charged with petit larceny, according to Horry County police.
The investigation began when the ATV given to Fallon Emery, also known as “Fierce Fallon,” was reported stolen the day after Christmas. Emery, 11, of Carolina Forest, is known throughout the community for her battle against cancer.
"To steal from a child, not only from a child, but a child who's sick on Christmas. Just put all of those together..." Fallon's mother, Melanie Emery, reflected.
According to reports, the four-wheeler was stolen from the child's grandmother's home in Loris.
After tips led police to the ATV, an investigation determined the stolen four-wheeler was later sold.
However, Fallon told her mother, Melanie Emery, that she did not want the four-wheeler back.
"Fallon said, 'you know this boy should keep this ATV. I was so upset and disappointed when someone stole my ATV. I couldn't imagine how he would feel if someone took it away from him,'" Melanie Emery said.
"Because I was really happy when I got the Christmas gift.. and I thought it would be nice to share that feeling," Fallon added.
Little did Fallon know, she was about to get a huge surprise from complete strangers.
Melanie Emery took to Facebook when Fallon's ATV was first taken.
She posted pictures and a short status about what happened.
A group of people including. Skip Wilkens. did more than reply to that status update.
Wilkens decided he wanted to take the crime into his own hands and contacted everyone he could to help donate towards a brand new four-wheeler for Fallon.
"Instead of sitting back waiting for something else to happen or someone else to do it.. it was my turn.. to try to put a smile back on a little girl's face and it was that simple," Wilkens said.
Wilkens and several others got in contact with Melanie and wanted to drop off the new four-wheeler as soon as possible.
At around 7 p.m. Monday, just three days after Fallon's ATV was stolen, Wilkens and several others surprised Fallon at her front door.
Somewhat hesitant, Fallon went outside to see what the surprise was all about and when she saw the pink camouflage ATV, she was shocked.
"I really do like it, I love it!" Fallon exclaimed.
"That smile made it all worth while. There's nothing like a smile on a child and especially one that's been through so much over the past year," Wilkens later said.
Fallon was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago and every week since then, Fallon's been getting chemotherapy.
However, Melanie admits, she wouldn't be the person she is without Fallon backing her and says Fallon inspires her every day with her strength.
Later Monday night, the mother of the little boy contacted Melanie, through Facebook.
The message thanked Fallon and her family for being so kind to let them keep the ATV for their son.