Autistic man mugged and beaten for iPhone

Posted at 4:53 PM, Oct 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-18 21:15:30-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A Paradise Hills family is in search of a good Samaritan after a young autistic man was mugged and beaten for his brand new iPhone, just blocks from his home.

The incident played out along Briarwood Road on an afternoon two weeks ago. Garrett De Leon had just gotten off work and off the bus.

His pride and joy was in his right hand - a new iPhone 10 that his parents gave to him for his birthday. Deleon was texting his mom that he was blocks from home, when it happened.

"This guy came from behind me and snatched my phone and pushed me to the ground," said De Leon.

De Leon says he fought back, the two struggling on the ground. "He pushed me again and runs to the car," said De Leon.

Deleon says he chased the man - a tall, lean black man wearing a beanie - to an older black car, where the man jumped in the back seat, the window rolled down.

"He tells his buddy to take off immediately," said De Leon. In the meantime, the thief was hitting De Leon, who says he was delivering his own blows through the window.

"I had too much adrenaline and didn't feel pain. Hopped up on anger and determined to get at them and at the phone," said De Leon.

After the car started up, it dragged De Leon some 100 feet before he was thrown off, bloodied with cuts and and scrapes, and a sprained hand.

Soon after, a Hispanic woman in her 20s, with a baby in her back seat, raced to his side. She tended to him before calling 9-1-1.

"Shows there are good people. She was more worried about me than her baby," said De Leon.

When help arrived and she left, De Leon never got her name. "I wish I could thank her as a mom, as a person," said Shawn De Leon, Garrett's mother.

She says she prefers to focus on the actions of that stranger, and not the other one.

"There are bad things happen to good people, and there are good people that rally when bad things happen," said Shawn De Leon.

If you know who the Good Samaritan is, send tips to A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help De Leon buy a new iPhone.