Military family asks for help after boy with autism has iPad stolen

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A local military family reached out to 10 On Your Side for help after someone stole an iPad from their child with autism.

Ashley Lechner told 10 On Your Side that her four-year-old son Brandon uses his iPad as a therapeutic tool.

“It breaks my heart,” she said.

According to Lechner, the device had been left inside their locked van as it was parked outside their Newport News home on Circuit Lane.

When they left their house on Saturday morning, they found the vehicle ransacked.

“It’s very scary because we were all in here sleeping so we have no idea how they got in, we just know that they took something very, very important to our four-year-old son who had grown very, very attached to it.”

Brandon is nonverbal, and communicating with him is next to impossible, Lechner said.

But the iPad had provided a new way for the boy to interact with his family.

“The iPad really helped him express himself to us,” she said. “Some people may think, ‘oh, it’s just technology,’ but for a little kid who cannot talk, it really opens up a lot of doors for us.”

Lechner said the days without it have been difficult.

They’re new to the neighborhood, and so the theft is discouraging.

The family hopes anyone with information will come forward.

Newport News Police told 10 On Your Side that they are investigating. Another person on the block also reported a car break-in during the same time period.

Anyone with information can call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.