Police return stolen bike to autistic girl

Police have recovered a rare bicycle after a thief stole it from a 9-year-old girl with autism.

June 9, 2010 2:11:24 PM PDT
A rare tandem bicycle belonging to a 9-year-old special-needs child that was stolen from her San Francisco apartment complex last month has been recovered, police said today.

The bicycle, manufactured by BuddyBike and one of only three in San Francisco and 450 in the nation, was taken on May 16, San Francisco police spokesman Albie Esparza said.

The thief entered the gated parking lot of the apartment complex in the 1000 block of Northpoint Street at about 4:30 a.m. and stole the bicycle, according to police.

The 9-year-old girl used the bike weekly with her family, Esparza said.

The manufacturer describes it as an inline tandem bike in which the front rider has handlebars to give the sensation of steering without actually having control. The front rider can contribute to pedaling while the rear rider controls the direction of the bike.

Widespread media coverage and support from the public aided police in their investigation and the bike was recovered Tuesday night, Esparza said.

"Thankfully, we were able to locate and recover the bike quickly," he said.

The bicycle will be returned to the family at 3 p.m. today at the Central Police Station at 766 Vallejo St.

No one has been arrested in the theft, but police describe the suspect as a man between 25 and 30 years old and about 5 feet 8 inches tall to 5 feet 10 inches tall with a shaved head. He was last seen wearing dark clothing.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Police Department's Confidential Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or use Text-a-Tip by texting TIP411.


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