Young racer with autism gets his stolen helmets back

You might remember this story, that started four years ago.

That's when Austin Riley, then 15-years-old had two of his custom-painted racing helmets stolen out of a storage trailer in Uxbridge.

But it wasn't the dollar value that bothered the boy and his family so much, more the sentimental value.

Riley has autism and is currently, at 19,  is the first person in world to reach where is in his racing career.

This, however, is a story of never giving up.

It was a friend of the family, someone they knew through the motorsport circles, who first spotted the helmets for sale and contacted Rileys dad, Jason.

"I found em! I found em! They're on Facebook right now. Somebody has them up for sale!" Jason Riley told NEWSTALK1010 of that conversation with the friend, Frank Launi from Innisfil.

It turns out the helmets were being sold for $50 each, in Barrie, Ontario.

Contact was made with the seller and they arranged a time and place on Monday, October 1st.

But before he could hit the road, Jason Riley contacted an officer from Durham Police. He volunteered to go in his place and close the case.

When the officer showed up at the door, the seller admitted he had no idea the helmets were stolen. Through police he claimed he wanted to do the right thing, so he turned the flashy pieces of safety gear, back over to their rightful owner.

Jason had recently set up a calming room for his soon, and covered a wall with racing momentos, including one custom-painted helmet for just about every year his son had been racing.

"As I was doing it, I was thinking to myself, this really sucks that two years are missing out of this." says Jason.

He says the helmets are more than just wall art though, they are like time capsules.

"It's like a time stamp on places he's been, people he's met, what he's done and what he's accomplished, and how he's changed."

The seller from Barrie is not facing charges, and admitted to having bought the helmets from a seller in Vaughan, about four years ago. Since then the helmets have simply been on a shelf in his garage.

But Jason wanted to point out the generousity and kidness expressed by the officer who helped get the helmets back.

"At the end of it, the officer said something to me that will stick with me for a long time. He said thank you, for learning Austin's story today, I'm a better person."