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Victim has message for thief

1:52 PM, Oct 25, 2013   |    comments
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Genevieve says she was relieved that security cameras captured a picture of the thief so police could share it.

DENVER - Police have made an arrest after a phone was stolen from a young woman who uses a wheelchair and cannot speak.

The victim, Natalie, said the phone was equipped with a program that provided a video interpreter. She says she feels stuck without it.

Natalie knows what it is to be misunderstood and underestimated. She has cerebral palsy. She's in a wheelchair and can only communicate through sign language.

"I may be disabled, but that doesn't change anything about who I am," Natalie signed. "I am still a person. I am nobody to mess with."

Natalie is 28 years old. She plays on a rolling soccer team and does not go anywhere without her service dog, Jack. He understands every command that she signs to him. He knows when something is wrong.

Jack was by her side when she was on the 16th Street Mall in Denver earlier this month when she was robbed.

"He was upset and he was barking," she recalled.

He saw the young man run up to Natalie near the light rail stop. He grabbed the lanyard around Natalie's neck that held her cell phone.

"I saw him running with my phone," Natalie said.

"She had a mark on her neck that was probably 2 and a half or 3 inches long," Natalie's aid Genevieve said. "It looked like a rug burn."

Genevieve says she was relieved that security cameras captured a picture of the thief so police could share it.

9NEWS posted the pictures online and on Facebook. It was quickly shared hundreds of times. Hundreds of comments were also posted within hours. People were outraged.

"I just want to say thank you; thank you to everybody," Natalie said.

Natalie says sharing her story is a way to fight back. 

"How could people be so mean? How could they?" She said. "I just don't understand."

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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