Thief swipes disabled man’s motorized wheelchair

Locks cut, chair stolen from victim’s front porch

Someone stole a motorized wheelchair from the 200 block of Barrera Street between 10:30 p.m. Monday and 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Anthony Barrera relies on that wheelchair to get around outside his home. He has ALS, which is a disease that deteriorates muscle function.

“Everywhere I went, I depended on my scooter," said Barrera.

Barrera’s wheelchair was locked and chained to his front porch where he has kept it for the last six years. He cannot keep it inside because his house is not wheelchair-accessible.

When he walked outside using his walker Tuesday morning, he saw that the locks had been cut.

"I saw the tarp. I thought it had blown off or something,” Barrera said. “But when I got closer I saw the locks and the chain and just … the scooter was gone. I can’t go anywhere. I can’t even go to the store to get something to eat or anything.”

And getting around is even more important for Barrera because he cares for his 17-year-old and 3-year-old nephews.

Luckily, kind neighbors are willing to help.

"We'll be going to get him some dinner and make sandwiches for the kids in a few,” said neighbor Rosalyn Brown, who calls the theft shocking and absurd. “We just became a family as neighbors, so we look out for each other.”

But now Barrera is left waiting for a replacement wheelchair or for police to catch the person who stole his.

He hopes to build a ramp into his house to prevent someone from stealing the replacement chair.

"I want them to feel how I feel,” he said. “If they had someone in their family who really needed it, how would they feel about it.”

For a list of recent stories Myra Arthur has done, click here.


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