An autistic teenager who had his bike stolen as a gang hit him with stones, has been overwhelmed by kind donations from the community to restore his confidence.
Mitchell Clark, 16, was riding his bike home from his nan’s house on July 16 at around 3pm when a group of youths pulled him off his bike and tore his neck chain away while he was travelling through the alleyway in Westminster Gardens, Houghton Regis.
With Mitchell’s confidence and nerves in tatters, his aunt, Becky Rose, set up an online fundraising page to ask for donations and restore his faith in the community.
Becky, from Dunstable, said: “Mitchell has autism so it’s 10 times worse for him. He’s OK physically, but it’s really knocked his confidence. He thinks it’s his fault.
“I wanted to get it out there and let him know there are nice people and that not everybody is like that.
“The community and people in Bedfordshire have raised £580 and it’s only been going for a few days.
“I want to say a big thank you. When I told Mitchell, he couldn’t believe that people cared so much. It’s a lovely reaction from everyone.”
Mitchell described the gang as comprising of around four or five 18- to 20-year-old white males, who were slim but muscular, topless, and wearing shorts. They had shaved heads and when they left with the stolen items, one went down Sundon Road with the bike, and the others headed down Recreation Road with other items, including the gold curb chain, and Mitchell’s wallet, which contained his bank cards, a gym membership and £20 from his nan.
The gold curb chain was worth £1,000 and the bike was worth £500, both gifts from his parents.
Becky told the Gazette: “He didn’t understand what was going on at first, but the worst thing was that when he did realise, he was calling them and saying: ‘Hey, give me my stuff back!’, and they started slinging rocks at him.”
Luckily, Mitchell only suffered minor injuries, and now his mother and father, Stacy and Daniel Clark, would like to thank the community.
Stacy said: “If they can do this to Mitchell, who is a vulnerable child, they could do this to anybody. We feel that everyone who has donated to Mitchell’s funding page and sent messages of support feel exactly the same way; it has been their way of saying ‘this will not be tolerated’, and we have felt overwhelmed by the community support.
“We just hope that in time Mitchell will gain the trust back to leave the house independently again.”
Becky would like to thank her friend, Matthew Miceli, for all his help with the fundraiser and everyone is hoping Mitchell will once again enjoy the freedom that the bike - a red Carrera Kraken - gave him.
The force is now appealing for CCTV or dashcam footage.
Contact Bedfordshire Police on 101 or visit the online reporting centre: reference 40/40814/19. You can also contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
> To donate, visit Becky Rose’s fundraiser which is on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1306008402