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Ridgewood Driver Finds Man With Autism Who Walked From Englewood Cliffs

Ian Grinsberg
Ian Grinsberg Photo Credit: COURTESY: Englewood Cliffs PD

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. -- A 24-year-old Englewood Cliffs man with autism who wandered from home Monday afternoon walked more than 13 miles to Ridgewood, authorities said.

A motorist saw Ian Grinsberg sitting by himself, without a coat, and asked if he was OK, Police Chief Michael Cioffi told Daily Voice.

He then gave her his telephone number.

"We had a detective at the house," Cioffi said. "He spoke with her, and then Ian's mother got on the phone and spoke with her and then with him.

"He walked to Ridgewood," the chief repeated. "He's in some kind of shape."

Ridgewood police had an ambulance take Grinsberg to The Valley Hospital as a precaution.

"He has some kind of minor bruise on his leg," Cioffi said. "Otherwise he was OK."

Village police were joined at headquarters Monday night by Grinsberg's father and Englewood Cliffs Detective Gerard McDermott.

Grinsberg left his Chestnut Street home between Summit and North Woodland streets around 3 p.m., Cioffi told Daily Voice. He was found more than four hours later.

"The family has another special needs adult at home and a person who takes care of them," he said. "While that person was tending to the other one, Ian left."

A Bergen County Rapid Deployment Force unit was dispatched to join police and firefighters in the search, said the chief, who issued a reverse 911 to 1,700 residents.

A county Sheriff's K-9 unit assisted, as did a heat-seeking helicopter from New York City that scanned the Palisades and areas in and around Englewood Cliffs.

"Everybody did a great job," the chief said.

Psychics also were consulted -- including one who reported "seeing" Grinsberg sitting on a porch or a curb, which is how Cioffi said he was found.

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