MIAMI (WSVN) - A teen battling a heart condition can now breathe a sigh of relief after his stolen autographed Miami Heat basketball was returned to his possession.
Seventeen-year-old Alejandro Ortiz is missing a ventricle in his heart, but by his moves on the basketball court, you’d never know.
Currently, Alejandro goes to a high school in New York City while he is on stand-by for a new heart. “It’s just been a waiting process,” he said. “We’ve been there for about eight months now.”
It has also been an emotional eight months for Alejandro’s sister Evelice. However, things became much worse when she came home to find her Rochester home was burglarized.
“I ran upstairs, and I’m like, ‘The ball is gone,'” Evelice said.
The ball she is referring to is a basketball given to Alejandro by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The basketball was signed by the 2013 NBA Champions, the Miami Heat.
“I was very upset,” Alejandro said. “Who would want to steal from a disabled child?”
However, police wasted no time beginning the investigation. “For a person to have the audacity to steal from a kid that’s extremely ill — certainly makes you want to work that much harder,” said Timothy Gourlay of Rochester Police.
Through tips, police were able to make an arrest. Police said someone else was hiding the ball while 26-year-old Aaron Peterson tried to sell it.
“His only wish was to have this basketball,” said Gourlay. “It’s just a special kind of low.”
“God works in mysterious ways, he actually does,” said Alejandro. “I was glad that he got caught in his ways.”
Peterson has been charged with burglary and grand larceny.
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