Thief brings Shawnee boy with autism to tears after stealing treasured bicycle

SHAWNEE, Kan. -- A local bike shop is offering a reward to try to get the bike back for the child with autism. FOX 4's Dave D'Marko spoke with that boy and found out a lot of hard work and dedication went into getting those wheels.

Thirteen-year-old Jackson has always had a love for bikes, and was eager to help a Shawnee man`s mission to ship bikes back to his native Gambia. As the boy with autism started school this fall at Hocker Grove Middle School he got a surprise.

“I decided to pick the best one among the bikes and give it to them, and this bike cost a lot of lot money,” said Abdoulie Fatajo.

“It`s his freedom to the world, he gets on that bike and the weight of the world is off his shoulders,” said mom Monica Martin.

Jackson rode the bike to school Thursday and rode the bus to band after school. By the time they got back to school it was storming.

“It`s late, it`s lightning, it`s thundering, I said, ‘it`s fine, it`s at school, it will be safe, it`s locked up don`t worry about it,” said Martin.

Then they received a crushing call on Friday morning.

“In tears screaming, ‘it`s gone it`s gone,’” Martin described.

School resource officers checked the surveillance video and sure enough spotted what appears to be an adult drive up, cut the lock and make off with the boy`s bike.

“I’m hoping someone, somewhere has seen the bike and will turn it in, but again it`s just a bike to a lot of people,” said Martin. “To him it`s much more than a bike, if you ask him he`ll tell you his whole world is gone.”

The man who gave Jackson the bike is offering a reward for its return.

“Whoever get this bike we are praying, just asking for them please return the bike, this is for a kid who is going to use it to go to school,” said Fatajo.

But it`s clear it would be tough for his mom to see the thief, get rewarded in any way.

“He went to a school and he stole a bike from a kid, that`s what make it bad you are the bad guy, literally you are a bad guy,” said Martin.

The vehicle appears to be a minivan or SUV with a broken back window on the passenger side. The missing bike is a black 20-inch Redline with green and white lettering.