Tipster Leads Cops to Autistic Girl's Stolen Bike

When a thief stole a $1,900 bike from a San Francisco parking garage, he didn't just take a pricey bike. That thief took an autistic girl's chance to feel like a normal kid.

The "Buddy Bike" belongs to a 9-year-old special needs girl. It's a specialized tandem bike puts child in front with their own handlebars and gives the girl a way to enjoy rides with her family.

But on May 16, a bike bandit swiped the cycle from the gated parking garage of the family's apartment complex in the 1000 block of North Point Street near Ghiradelli Square and up the road from Fisherman's Wharf. Police say the man walked into the garage and rode out on the silver 27-speed bike.

Police put the public on notice, with a description of the bike and the thief. Word of the missing bike spread and on Tuesday night, a tipster called the cops, saying he had found the bike.

San Francisco police will return the bike to the girl and her family at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

No one has been arrested in the theft, but police describe the thief as a man between 25 and 30 years old and about 5 feet 8 inches tall to 5 feet 10 inches tall with a shaved head. He was last seen wearing dark  clothing.

According to the company website, the Buddy Bike gives the child a better view and a feeling that they're in control of the bicycle. There are only 450 such bikes in the country -- four of them are in San Francisco. And now, one of those will be back in the posession of its rightful owner.

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