Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office

Man Charged in Theft of Special-Needs Boy's Custom-Made Tricycle

A man accused of stealing a tricycle specifically manufactured for a 13-year-old boy with special needs has been charged in the crime, prosecutors said.

Carlos Andres Lopez faces one felony count each of first-degree residential burglary, grand theft of personal property exceeding $950 and second-degree vehicle burglary after allegedly stealing the bike worth more than $5,000 last month, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Surveillance video captured the moments when Lopez, described as a transient, walked out of a Burbank apartment complex in the 4500 block of Clybourn Avenue on Jan. 23 with the three-wheel German bike in hand.

Thirteen-year-old Damian Jeffries, who has cerebral palsy, was in disbelief when he learned his bike was swiped by a thief. "What human being wouldn't think 'maybe this is a handicapped kid's bike?' " said Damien.

The bike was was returned five days later after a woman spotted the cycle abandoned alongside a road about 10 miles away in Silver Lake. There were parts missing, cables severed, and portions of the frame damaged.

The family had been asking for help to find the bike and set up an account to raise money for a new one, which Damian's mom said had opened up new worlds for her high-functioning disabled son.

"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.

Lopez is also accused of stealing a sewing machine from a pickup truck at the same apartment complex, prosecutors said.

The case includes allegations that Lopez has been previously convicted in nine separate cases between 1991 and 2011 for felonies that included grand theft, unlawful taking of a vehicle and first-degree residential burglary.

Lopez was scheduled to be arraigned Friday and was being held on $130,000 bail. If convicted, he faces a possible maximum sentence of 27 years and four months in state prison.

The case remains under investigation by the Burbank Police Department.

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