WHITTIER (CBSLA.com)  —   Someone broke into a Whittier family’s car and didn’t take money in the cup holder or even the pricey radio.

The thief stole an electronic device — it looks like a tablet — but it helps a boy with cerebral palsy communicate with the world.

Zachary Bernal’s family is naturally anxious and desperate to get the device back. They spoke to KCAL9’s Andrea Fujii Monday evening.

For most of Zachary’s life his parents had to guess what he was trying to say.

“He could get frustrated, he couldn’t let us know what he wanted,” says his mother, Kristy.

Born with cerebral palsy, communication has been hard for the 10-year-old.

It was hard, until last October when his school loaned him a computer device that could speak for him.

Fujii was shown video of Zachary using the device — he controlled his speech by using his eyes.

“Now he can express himself, he’s doing math, he’s doing subtraction, addition now with it,” says Kristy.

It was late Sunday night when someone broke into the family SUV and stole the device.

The device costs about $7,000. Zachary’s mom admits to leaving it in the car.

“I keep beating myself up about it,” it’s just a huge loss,” she says.

The Bernals weren’t the only ones in the neighborhood that were hit. Neighbors said six other cars were broken into — unfortunately, no security cameras were rolling.

Zachary’s mom says the school will let him borrow another computer for use during the school  day — but he cannot take it home. And his parents can’t afford to buy a new one.

Kristy says she is hoping for a miracle.

“I just wish the person would just drop it back off on my porch, knowing that it’s not just a normal tablet. It’s something to help a person communicate.”

 

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