Autistic man, 19, struck in face, robbed of phone in Fort Lauderdale

Victim was in town with parents on vacation

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Fort Lauderdale police are searching for two thieves who attacked an autistic man and robbed him of his phone in Fort Lauderdale.

The incident was reported shortly before 9:30 p.m. Wednesday on the beachside of A1A near Beach Place.

According to an incident report, the 19-year-old victim was in Fort Lauderdale with his parents on vacation and wanted to walk along the sand and listen to music on his iPhone while his parents were eating on the patio of The Ritz hotel.

Police said the victim was approached by two black men in their 20s who asked him for money while he was sitting on a lounge chair on the beach.

Authorities said the victim hesitated because he was confused by the question, at which time the thieves repeatedly struck the victim in the face, kicked him and stole his iPhone 6s.

According to the report, a married couple riding their bicycles nearby saw the victim rolled up on the ground, covering his head from the repeated blows. 

Police said the husband yelled at the attackers to stop, and they complied. The man told police that one of the thieves told him, "He took my phone and we are just taking it back."

The victim's parents, meanwhile, attempted to track their son's location on his phone, which showed it was located in the 3000 block of Valencia Street. But police said soon later the location was no longer available.

The parents then walked over to where the emergency vehicles were and discovered their son had been attacked, authorities said.

Police said the victim's lips and cheeks were swollen from the attack. He also suffered abrasions to his face.

Anyone with information about the attack and robbery is asked to call Detective E. Kirtman at 954-828-6070 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.

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