Janesville kid back to fishing after someone stole all of his gear

12-year-old Roman Borst recently had his fishing gear swiped. But the community came together to get him back on the water.
Updated: Oct. 3, 2021 at 9:00 PM CDT
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) -A young boy in Janesville is back fishing on the banks of the Rock River after all of equipment was stolen and it’s all thanks to a business owner and some generous strangers.

Back on September 18th, 12-year-old Roman Borst was with a neighbor and after a busy day of fishing, they stopped at a Kwik Trip for a drink. When they came back out, Roman’s gear was gone from the back of the pickup truck.

“I was like ‘seriously?’ and I just bought $500 worth of stuff and put it in there,” said Borst. “It didn’t feel good to my feelings because people shouldn’t do that, but it happened and I was kind of sad,”

Roman reported the fishing gear stolen the next day.

Fishing is Roman’s obsession. That’s pretty much all he does in his free time.

“It keeps him really preoccupied for like a whole day,” said his mother Erin. “We let him go and do it and we try to let him do it only on the weekends during the school year because otherwise he’s out fishing until like 8 or 9 o’clock at night,”

“Usually, I catch a lot of bigger fish,” added Roman. “I also like fishing so I can get away from my brother and sister,”

The Janesville Police Department posted about the crime on their Facebook page and received a huge response. Officer Scott Katzenmeyer mentioned the situation to Shawn McCarten and he knew he had to help.

“I love to help people if they need something. We will gladly help as much as we can,” said McCarten.

Shawn and his wife Marci own the “It’s a Keeper” bait and tackle shop along the Rock River. Roman is one of their regular customers.

“He’s a fun kid. Very polite, sincere,” said McCarten.

The McCartens replaced all of Roman’s stolen gear free of charge.

“I was happy because they helped me out,” said Roman. “He’s a nice guy and Marci is a nice lady,”

“He’s an animal. This kid fishes nonstop. It’s perfect, it’s what it’s all about,” said McCarten.

That’s when the donations started coming in. Random customers began buying gift cards and telling McCarten to give the money to Roman whenever he came in next.

“We had a lot of generous customers… that have donated close to $200 in gift cards and so he could fill his box up even more,” said McCarten.

“His eyes just lit up when Shawn and Marci did this and other Good Samaritans because you would never think in a million years that this would happen,” said Erin Borst.

“The good part is a lot of people helped me out,” said Roman.

Now that Roman is back on the banks of the Rock River, he’s there to stay. He’s definitely hooked.

“I don’t really know how he felt, but I saw his smile, so I think he was pretty happy that he could just carry on with his passion,” said McCarten.

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