BURBANK (CBSLA.com) — Burbank police are looking for the thief who stole a special-needs teen’s custom tricycle.
Investigators released security video of the man suspected of breaking into a secure garage at 4524 Clybourn Avenue and taking D.J. Jeffries’ bike at 4:15 a.m. Saturday. It was locked together with his wheelchair.
The 13-year-old was born with cerebral palsy. He said riding the tricycle gives him a chance to feel like he fits in with his peers and allows him to temporarily forget he has a disability.
“People, when I talk to them, they either look at my feet or look at my wheelchair, and they talk to the wheelchair. With the bike, some of that went away,” the teenager said.
D.J. lives with his mother who raises him alone and works overnight as a nurse.
“It just gave him the freedom to be like the other kids, just to be one of them. He’s so different in so many aspects of his life that this one area that this bike allow him to be. It’s like a lifeline for these kids,” said his mother Allesha Jeffries.
The tricycle costs $5,000, which was paid for with a $1,000 grant and $4,000 in donations.
“I’m a single mom on a single income. Having a special-needs kid, finances just are tight.” Jeffries said.
The thief was seen leaving the apartment complex through the front door with the unique bike.
D.J. has a message for the thief: “You’re a jerk because it’s the truth.”
Because the tricycle is worth $5,000, it’s a felony case.
The same suspect also stole a sewing machine from the bed of a pick-up truck in the same garage, said Sgt. Claudio Losacco of the Burbank Police Department.
The suspect was described as a Hispanic or white man in his mid-30s, weighing between 160 and 180 pounds, wearing a black hoodie type jacket, a black-and-white beanie and dark jeans.
If you recognize the man, call Detective Aaron Kay at (818) 238-3210. An online fundraising page has been started. For more information, click here.