Family south of Stratford reunited with specialized bike that makes riding possible for 10-year-old boy with autism

Jeron Van Dyk had an extra special start to summer.

The 10-year-old was reunited with his bike, a recumbent two-seater that allows a parent or friend to help him ride.

Jeron has autism, and using a traditional bicycle isn't possible. So it was a real blow when a pair of specialized bikes disappeared from his family's Perth South shed.

A few days ago, police officers returned one of those rides to the Van Dyks. Their nine children are ecstatic.

“They're on it everyday,” said mom Anna Van Dyk. “Jeron's so happy. He's been on it numerous times since we got it back, full of smiles.”

It was thanks to staff at the Shakespeare Truck Centre that the bike was discovered, Anna was told.

An employee noticed something suspicious around the storage units on the property.

“When they went to look, our bike was in there, in one of the containers,” Anna said.

The woman responsible for tipping off police declined to comment when reached by the Beacon Herald.

Perth County OPP reported the bicycle was found in Perth East, but wouldn't say where the search warrant was executed.

Const. Mike Melnychuk said police are eager for anyone with information to come forward. He wouldn't confirm whether charges were laid after the bike was found.

And there may be a connection to a different local police investigation. Anna said she was told a man involved in another case is a likely suspect.

Melnychuck, however, said he couldn’t release any information that would jeopardize an ongoing investigation. The search warrant remains open and police continue to appeal to the public for information about the second bike.

At Spectrum Acres, the farm where the Van Dyk family holds special events for children with autism, the red bike is getting a workout. And at last month's party, the specialized bikes were a big hit with visitors. The homecoming is just in time, because the next event for families with autism – where kids and their families can enjoy a zip line, petting zoo, crafts and games – is coming up on the weekend.

The Van Dyks are hopeful that another tip might lead police to the second bike - an orange four-seater - valued at close to $3,500.

For now, they're happy to have one bike back home.

“I'm very appreciative a citizen took the time to report something,” said Anna.

“There are good people that see bad things happen, and they report it, so things get solved.”

Read other news on the city site of London.

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