Officers tracked down the bicycle after a neighbor spotted it.
New Zealand Police Return Stolen Bike To Autistic Girl
Auckland City, New Zealand — Police in New Zealand have returned a bicycle stolen from an autistic girl, thanks to a Good Samaritan who spotted it in a nearby area.
Officers from the Auckland City District Police Department recovered and returned the bike to a family in the Otahuhu suburb on Nov. 11 after discovering it in the suburb of Mangere.
The department posted a video of the return on Facebook the next day. In it, the girl’s mother describes realizing that someone had broken into her shed and stolen her children’s bikes. The loss was especially difficult for her daughter Livvy, who has autism.
After notifying law enforcement, the mother posted a photo of the stolen bike on social media, asking for help locating it. A woman she knows later contacted her to say she had seen a bike fitting the description not far from their home.
In the footage shared by police, an officer is seen bringing the bike back to Livvy, who then excitedly rides it around the yard.
“That special, you know, moment, when you return the victims’ property back to them, it’s quite priceless,” the officer, who also returned another bike belonging to the family, says. “It’s rewarding, you know? Proud to be a police officer and do what I do: make a difference.”
Bike theft is a persistent crime in New Zealand as they are often left unsecured, presenting a prime opportunity for thieves. During the first four months of 2019, 832 bicycles in the country were reported stolen, but only 30 people were charged with theft. Between 2015 and 2018, 12,654 bicycles were reported stolen, and less than 500 offenders were caught.
Police recommend that owners record their bike’s serial number in order to identify lost or stolen bikes and prove ownership.
(Edited by Carlin Becker and Fern Siegel)