Police hunt youths for attack on autistic man

Chris Dale, 22, was followed from an ATM in Bridge Mall to a bus stop near his Delacombe home on Monday night, where he was assaulted and robbed.

Chris Dale, 22, was followed from an ATM in Bridge Mall to a bus stop near his Delacombe home on Monday night, where he was assaulted and robbed.

BALLARAT police are on the hunt for two male youths who have left a young autistic man fearing for his safety after they tried to assault and rob him on Monday night. 

Chris Dale, 22, had been withdrawing money from an ATM in Little Bridge Street about 7.15pm on Monday when he noticed the two males,

believed to be about 14, watching him. 

What followed was a frightening encounter in which the teenagers followed Mr Dale into the Coles supermarket in Peel Street before getting onto his bus and continuing to abuse him. 

“They just kept asking for the money which I had taken out,” said a shaken Mr Dale, who returned to Little Bridge Street on Thursday. 

“I eventually thought I’d lost them, but then I saw them get on my bus at the last minute.’’

He said the pair continued to goad him on the bus, with one of the teenagers egging the other on to assault Mr Dale. 

Getting off the bus near his home in Delacombe, Mr Dale said the two males followed him before grabbing him by his jumper. 

‘’They grabbed onto my jumper and wouldn’t let go ... I had to squirm out of it and run,’’ he said. 

“I was yelling at them and they ran off.’’

Mr Dale said the pair stole his jumper and cigarettes that he had earlier bought for his mother.

Police later found the jumper and cigarettes dumped in a Delacombe street. 

Mr Dale said he was fearful of the pair and believed they would strike again. 

His mother, Michelle Tait, said the incident was “sickening’’.

“He should be able to walk the streets and feel safe,’’ Ms Tait said. “This just can’t keep happening.’’

Ballarat police are investigating. 

No arrests have been made.

patrick.byrne@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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