Thieves In Van Nuys Steal 80 Wheelchairs Designated For The Disabled In Indonesia
VAN NUYS (CBSLA.com) — A search was underway for the thieves who broke into the warehouse of a non-profit humanitarian organization in Van Nuys and stole 80 wheelchairs.
They were part of a shipment bound for Indonesia and to be distributed to children and adults in that country.
On Wednesday morning, staff and volunteers realized their truck packed with the wheelchairs ready to be shipped on Friday was stolen.
"To have someone just callously come and take a life-changing item, like a wheelchair away, is very disheartening and sad," said Chris Grange at Global Mobility, which provides refurbished and new wheelchairs to people in need around the world.
The stolen wheelchairs are worth $12,000. Each one was brand new and specially manufactured for third-world country conditions.
Tomas Gonzalez, who is a volunteer, has spent 18 years in a wheelchair. He said he can't imagine what life would be like without one.
"I pray to God. Help us to recover those wheelchairs because they need it," Gonzalez said.
For now, Global Mobility plans to replace the stolen wheelchairs with wheelchairs designated for other countries.
"I hate to see them disappointed quite honestly," Grange said. "I just hope their conscience would be touched, and they would return those chairs."
He hoped the thieves realize they didn't just take 80 chairs; they took 80 chances to thrive.
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