Mobility Stolen in Wheelchair Heists

LOS ANGELES --- Authorities sought public help Thursday to solve two separate crimes involving the thefts of a custom-made wheelchair and spare wheelchair wheels and tires.

The custom-made wheelchair was inside a woman's vehicle when it was stolen on Nov. 22, the Los Angeles Police Department reported.

The vehicle was recovered three days later in the central city area, but the wheelchair, which belonged to the woman's daughter, was missing.

"The wheelchair ... is crucial to the mobility of the patient," an LAPD statement says. "The patient's mother cares for her daughter, who is in her 20s, has had cerebral palsy since birth, and is completely immobile without the wheelchair assistance."

On Nov. 29, a vehicle containing spare wheelchair wheels and tires was stolen. Three days afterward, that vehicle was recovered in the central city area, but the wheelchair wheels and tires were missing. The items belonged to a man who was paralyzed in a shooting.

According to police, insurance will not cover the victims' losses, and they cannot afford to replace the items.

Anyone with information about the crimes was urged to call detectives Zavala or Woods at 213-485-2509; or 877-LAPD-24-7. Tipsters can also text CRIMES, starting their message with LAPD, or use the Web site and click on Web Tips.

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