Two men robbed and beat an autistic man trying to make friends on a basketball court in Florida, deputies said.
The 22-year-old victim, whose father requested that his identity not be revealed, had been approached by the men while he was on the basketball court in Tampa on Sunday, WFTS reported.
The victim said he had been playing basketball and was attempting to make friends when one of the attackers accused him of stealing his phone.
The autistic man tried to explain to the two men that he did not steal the phone and that he had a disability.
“Listen, I have a disability,” the victim explained. “I’m not like you. I don’t act like a normal 22-year-old kid. In my head, I’m like 15, but I don’t know how to interact in other situations like that.”
At that moment, Terrell Newton, 25, along with an unnamed 16-year-old accomplice, allegedly grabbed his throat and stole his phone and shoes.
The two attackers then allegedly began kicking and punching the disabled man in a nearby alleyway.
The victim said he got a woman passing by to call deputies.
Authorities arrested Newton and the accomplice and charged them with robbery, third-degree grand theft, and abuse of a disabled adult.
Newton is currently being held at Hillsborough County Jail on $6,000 bond. It is not clear whether Newton has retained an attorney, according to jail documents.