THE BRONX - NYPD officers safely found a little boy who wandered off on the streets of the Bronx Tuesday, officials say.

Officers of the 41st Precinct found 7-year-old Dwayne Williams near Simpson and 163rd streets. He was barefoot and without a shirt.

The boy's parents, who were reunited with him in the afternoon, say he has autism and trouble communicating. His stepfather Leonard Pettaway says he escaped out of a window at their Fox Street house that was supposed to have a lock on it.

City inspectors removed a piece from the window, calling it a fire hazard, according to Pettaway.

He says that since then, the boy has escaped four times from the first-floor apartment.

"I just hope I get some assistance from HPD and DHS," Pettaway says. "I hope they put the lock on that they took off, that'll help 100 percent."

DHS says it's investigating the incident.

Pettaway says his wife left the home to pick up another child from the bus stop, then went shopping with two of their other children. Pettaway's daughter was home with Dwayne when he snuck out.

Witnesses tell News 12 they saw the boy wandering miles away from the family's home around 4:30 p.m.