NEWARK -- A 23-year-old man remains jailed after confessing to stealing an autistic child's prized possession from in front of her home, police said.

Police earlier this month arrested Charles Alfred "Chucky" Boukis of Newark on suspicion of petty theft after he stole the 7-year-old girl's beloved decoration: a lawn ornament that features a smiling pink piglet riding a rainbow-colored bicycle.

The theft from the front yard of the unidentified girl's home on Dairy Avenue was reported to police on the morning of May 28, said Officer Jeff Neithercutt.

Boukis later confessed to the crime, police said.

Valued at about $45, the piece was given to the girl by her grandfather from Japan and has significant meaning to her because of her disability, Neithercutt said after the theft.

An unidentified Newark 7-year-old girl who lives with autism was heartbroken when her favorite lawn ornament was stolen in May. Now, police say they have
An unidentified Newark 7-year-old girl who lives with autism was heartbroken when her favorite lawn ornament was stolen in May. Now, police say they have arrested a 23-year-old man on suspicion of petty theft, and a generous citizen donated a replacement ornament. ( Newark Police Department )

Police did not disclose what evidence led them to Boukis, but officers have had contact with him in the past. Last November, he was arrested in Newark on suspicion of misdemeanor battery, felony criminal threats and a misdemeanor disturbance. The details of the arrest were not available.

On the morning of July 19, police arrested him on an outstanding warrant and on suspicion of having committed the petty theft. Boukis remains in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, but his bail amount was not immediately available Tuesday night.

The original ornament has not been found, but someone who heard about the theft donated the exact same lawn ornament to the child, police said. Although her family was not available for comment Tuesday night, the girl, police said, is happy to see her favorite pink pig once again pedaling his bicycle across her lawn.

Contact Kristin J. Bender at kbender@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/kjbender.