NORTH OGDEN -- Having one's belongings stolen is an unpleasant and inconvenient occurrence for most people.
But for 18-year-old Joseph Garner, the theft of his bicycle threatened to thwart his chance of leading a normal, teenage life, said his mother, Jolaine Garner.
Her son has autism.
After graduating from Weber High School last fall, Joseph Garner began working as a janitor at an elementary school near his home -- a major victory, his mother said, in his struggle with autism.
"It's kind of a big step when you have a child with disabilities. These are steppingstones that help them become independent and grow up."
Because of his autism, Garner was unable to acquire a driver's license when he turned 16. His parents instead bought him an orange Trek mountain bike to make his daily, milelong commute to work so he would no longer have to rely on others for transportation.
"Most kids, when they turn 16, they get a driver's license. That's a big deal," his mother said. "I figured that summer before his birthday we'd get him a bike."
Having a bike improved his life, Garner said, because it gave him independence, and he could "go down the hills a lot faster and not have to ask people for rides."
"I got tired of being babied all the time," he said.
Jolaine Garner said getting her son a bike was the first step in a plan to help him learn how to get around on his own -- a plan she hopes will ultimately result in his learning to use transportation services provided by the Utah Transit Authority.
When he found that his bike had been stolen Sunday night from his home's garage at 3139 N. 800 East, Garner said he was "severely disappointed and angry."
"I have autism, and I need this bike," he said. "I would love to have it back."
For now, he is using his older brother's bike -- his brother is currently working in Alaska -- and is saving up his money to buy himself a new one.
A police report was filed with the North Ogden Police Department for the stolen bike.
Jolaine Garner was able to provide a serial number for the bike as well as other information North Ogden Police Detective Paul Rhoades said would make finding the bike much easier.
Rhoades said an investigation into the theft is pending.