By Kim Palmer
CLEVELAND (Reuters) – A custom neon green wheelchair stolen from a 9-year-old Cleveland boy was returned anonymously to a police station on Thursday but with serious damage.
The wheelchair with wheels that lit up is owned by Stephen Gibson, who suffers from cerebral palsy and scoliosis.
On Sunday, Stephen and his family realized thieves had broken into their garage and taken it along with $ 200 worth of holiday groceries from a freezer.
When Stephen and his mother, Barbara Gibson, told their story to local media a citywide hunt for the wheelchair ensued.
Although the chair was returned, one of the wheels is bent, the emergency brakes have been removed and the wheels no longer light up, Gibson said.
Even though the chair was damaged, Gibson says her son is “ecstatic” to have it back.
Stephen is now using a temporary wheelchair from his school and local medical equipment supplier Invacare has offered to replace Gibson’s wheelchair with two new ones.
One of the wheelchairs will have light-up wheels and the other is a sports chair so he can play basketball. The chairs will be ready for delivery in about two weeks, according to an Invacare spokeswoman.
Cleveland Police spokeswoman Jennifer Ciaccia said police will review tapes from cameras positioned outside of the station to see who returned the chair, noting the person or persons may not be same one who stole the chair.
(Editing by Brendan O’Brien and Lisa Shumaker)
- Stephen Gibson
- Barbara Gibson