A 13-year-old boy with cerebral palsy and his mother are grateful the keen eyes of a good Samaritan helped police recover the stolen three-wheeled cycle specially built for him, but were also disappointed to discover it is no longer ridable.
Now returned to the Burbank apartment of the Jeffries family, the cycle has parts missing, cables severed, and portions of the frame damaged. It had been stolen early last Saturday morning from the building's gated garage, where it was locked in place with a wheelchair. Security camera video showed a man taking the cycle out through the lobby.
Examining the damage to the $5,300 cycle that aided her son Damian's mobility and benefitted his leg strength, mother Allesha Jeffries chose not to dwell on the negative.
"One person did do something awful to us. But then we've had a thousand people reach out to us in positive ways," Allesha Jeffries said.
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The theft had received extensive media coverage Wednesday. The next morning, police got a call from a woman who spotted the cycle abandoned alongside a road some 10 miles away in Silver Lake. She had seen images of the cycle in news coverage and recognized it, said Burbank Police Sgt. Claudio Losacco, who praised the woman's response.
"This lady answered the bell," Losacco said.
Media attention may have prompted the thief to abandon the cycle, Losacco said. It was not immediately clear whether the cycle had been damaged by the thief, or after he got rid of it. Police were able to recover some forensic evidence from the cycle and the location where it was recovered, and continue with efforts to identify the thief.
Police have released screen grabs of him as seen on the security camera video. Whether the cycle can be repaired may not be known until she hears back from the company that built the cycle, said Jeffries.
It had been purchased two years ago with grant funds. At the suggestion of some of the news reporters she has met the past several days, she said she's set up an account on the "Go Fund Me" website to raise funds for the repair or replacement.