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Bicycle stolen from teen with autism while he searched for lost phone

(AP)

After Lakewood resident Joanie’s* son lost his phone last week while taking books back to the local library, he went out on his bicycle to try to find the missing device.

While out on his search on Lakewood’s 100th Street Southwest, he leaned his bike against a fence. A man who appeared to be homeless came over and took the bicycle.

“This person just grabbed his bike and went the other way, running down the street,” Joanie said to KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show.

Joanie had always told her son not to put himself in a potentially dangerous altercation for the sake of material items, so he did not pursue the thief.

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The incident greatly angered Joanie, who moved from Puyallup to Lakewood specifically because she thought it was a safer community that took a tougher stance on crime.

“It’s moving into every community, and it’s devastating to my son, not only to lose his phone the day before, but then to have his bicycle stolen, which is basically his transportation,” Joanie said.

Her son is on the autism spectrum and cannot drive — so incidents like this one threaten his way to safely move around his city.

“You don’t feel like you can let your children ride the bus or wait at a bus stop, or just do the normal things that we used to do when we were younger, because there’s always someone coming at you for money, or just being belligerent for no reason whatsoever,” Joanie said. “He’s devastated — he just doesn’t understand why people do the things they do.”

She made lemonade from lemons by using the crime as a learning experience.

“It’s a good lesson to remind him that there are not very good people out there and they will take advantage of you,” she said.

*Last name left out at personal request.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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