The iPad that a non-verbal boy with autism uses to communicate was stolen from a playground in Marshfield, Massachusetts, on Wednesday night, authorities said.
And while a man has been charged with taking the iPad, it was found hours after it was reported missing as the community rallied around Aiden Glynn, 10.
"I like to describe it like if you had a person that didn't have a leg, like if you took their ... prosthetic leg," said his mother, Patricia Glynn. "He can't talk, so it's hard."
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A man believed to have stolen the device — surveillance video shows it being taken from the Martinson Elementary School playground, and the man was at the playground playing basketball at the time — appeared in court on Friday on larceny charges.
Nolan Redden, 34, told police he put the iPad in the trash at a car wash because he thought it was garbage, which Aiden's grandmother didn't believe — written on it are Aiden's name, contact information and what he needs it for.
"It's so sad," Aiden's grandmother said. "I mean he is 34 years old. I could see a kid maybe doing that, wishing that he had one. But absolutely ridiculous. Horrible really."
Redden was ordered to stay away from the playground and has another court date in October.
But the communty rallied around the family raising funds for another tablet in just a few hours. And a Marshfield detective climbed into a dumpster to recover the tablet.
It was a rollercoaster of emotions for Glynn family, showing the best and worst in people within a day.
"We saw the bad in humanity that someone took [the iPad] and then we saw the incredible support of Marshfield and the police," Patricia Glynn said.
Since they have the iPad back, the family will return the money raised by the community to give it to another child in need, they said.