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Girl with autism has stolen iPad replaced by CityNews viewer

Last Updated Feb 18, 2016 at 12:49 am EDT

A five-year-old girl named Charlie was standing on a sidewalk and waiting for her school bus to arrive Tuesday morning when someone approached her, snatched her iPad out of her hand and ran off.

Charlie has severe autism and relies on her iPad to communicate.

“I wanted to chase after him, but I obviously didn’t. My daughter’s mittens had fallen off and she was really upset so I just ran over to her,” said her mom, Sarah.

(Sarah asked CityNews not to publish her name due to privacy)

Sarah was shoveling the snow on the sidewalk outside of their home near Wellesley and Parliament streets when Charlie had the bright pink iPad stolen.

“She waits for the bus and I turned around and he was just running and she was reaching out, her one mitten had fallen off,” said Sarah.

The iPad was decorated with stickers from the Disney movie ‘Frozen’ and her mother said it is her best friend.

“We call it her bus buddy,” Sarah said. “It keeps her calm and happy on the bus.”

It cost her $200, but means the world to Charlie because she uses it to communicate with people.

“She has never said a single word but she is amazing and brilliant,” said Sarah.

Charlie, a five-year-old girl who has severe autism had her iPad stolen from her when she was waiting for her school bus on Feb. 16, 2016. CITYNEWS
Charlie, a five-year-old girl who has severe autism had her iPad stolen from her when she was waiting for her school bus on Feb. 16, 2016. CITYNEWS

She described the person who stole the iPad as a “kid” who looked to be between 15 to 17 years old. He was wearing a black Canada Goose jacket and cargo-coloured pants.

Since her iPad was stolen, Charlie has gone to school with her My Pal Scout toy dog instead of the iPad.

Sarah just wants the iPad returned to her, even thrown over the fence, because to her daughter it means everything.

“She watches her birthday party video on repeat on it,” she said.

CityNews has received a massive outpouring of support from people wanting to help Charlie.

The viewer that reached out to CityNews to purchase a new iPad for Charlie has asked to remain anonymous.

“It’s heartwarming, it’s touching,” said Sarah. “Whoever did this, thank you so much.”

Sarah said she was in shock with the news and that it means so much because it is giving Charlie back her best friend.

“Stealing from a children is … I don’t really understand the point and what he would get out of it opposed to what she loses?” Sarah asked.