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Winter Haven cop's diligence returns autistic boy's stolen bicycle

An autistic boy in Winter Haven, Fla., had his stolen bicycle returned by a diligent police officer from the Winter Haven Police Department (WHPD) in Polk County, Fla.

Pete Kreticos, a Winter Haven, Fla., police officer poses with Tristan Roller, an autistic 12-year-old boy who had his stolen bicycle returned stemming from diligent police work.
Winter Haven Police Department

On Wednesday, February 4, 2014, Tristan Roller, an autistic 12-year-old boy who resides in Winter Haven, Fla., was elated to witness Pete Kreticos, a Winter Haven policeman, in his driveway and there to return Tristan's stolen bicycle. In the very same driveway from where it was stolen, Tristan's bicycle was returned in perfect condition, further restoring a young boy's hope.

Winter Haven police responded to Tristan's home on January 26, 2014, to initiate a report of a stolen bicycle. The theft transpired after Tristan, taking a break from riding his bicycle, went inside his home for a drink. Tristan lain the bicycle down in his driveway; upon his return to continue riding, it was gone.

Police officers' efforts to investigate the bicycle theft included obtaining a detailed description of Tristan's bike. Tristan's parents also provided photographs of the actual bicycle. From the pictures and description of the bicycle, police were able to compose a bulletin for dissemination.

The investigating and report-writing police officer, Pete Kreticos, placed emphasis on finding Tristan's bicycle, one he received on Christmas Day.

Part of the aforementioned dissemination was to all patrol officers among the WHPD police force. From the imagery and complete, detailed description of Tristan's bicycle, it was located and recovered for Tristan on February 4, 2014. Winter Haven police maintained a watchful eye and diligently searched the city for Tristan's bicycle.

While investigating a separate complaint, Winter Haven police officers observed what appeared to be Tristan's bicycle. With the aid of the previously disseminated bulletin, police were able to confirm the bicycle in question was Tristan's.

Officer Kreticos's report-writing efforts and information disbursement paid off! Kreticos boarded Tristan's bike in his police cruiser's trunk for transport back to Tristan's home.

Presenting stolen items back to original owners is not often the case in law enforcement investigations...but in this case it worked according to plan.

Posted on the Winter Haven Police Department Facebook page was the following declaration by WHPD police chief: "This case is a prime example of the diligence our officers have to recover
property for our citizens," said Chief Gary Hester. "The men and women here at our Department take great pride in serving the community and truly exemplify our motto: 'Honor In Service.' "

Tristan, a young autistic boy, was overjoyed by the return of his bicycle via the efforts of the Winter Haven police, namely Police Officer Pete Kreticos.


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