WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Just weeks after a Winter Haven boy with autism got his brand new bike stolen, police officers found it and returned it to him.
Tristan Roller thought he would never again see the bike that he got for Christmas.
"Santa brought him a bike for working so hard and learning how to ride a bike, so this was everything to him," said Stephanie Couture-Roller, Tristan's mother.
On a recent Sunday, he and his sister took a break and went inside their home. When they came out, Tristan's bike was gone.
It left him devastated.
"(He wasn't) just upset that somebody stole it, but upset with himself that he didn't do what he was supposed to and left it outside," his mother said.
They knew it wouldn't do much, but his mother and father called the police to ease Tristan's mind and teach the kids a lesson.
Officer Pete Kreticos took the report.
"I cannot lie, I did take it personal," he said. "I have a good, longtime friend whose son is autistic, and I have three boys myself."
Kreticos went on a mission. He put in extra work, printed fliers and passed them out to his team. Wednesday, about ten days after the bike went missing, an officer recognized it from the flier a couple miles away while on an unrelated call.
"We were just floored," Couture-Roller said.
Minus a couple scratches that immediately caught Tristan's eye, the bike is in top-notch condition.
Although he would love to know who sat on his seat, and touched his handle bars, the 12-year-old couldn't be happier to get it back.
Officer Kreticos said the person who had the bike found it abandoned on a nearby street. He said typically juveniles will steal a bike and then ditch it somewhere else.