Stolen Special Needs Wheelchair Returned To Family

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A wheelchair made for a little boy with Cerebral Palsy was returned to a Highland Park family today after it was stolen from their van earlier this month.

Candi Carter-Olsen, the boy’s mother, says she is grateful to the people who returned the $4,000 wheelchair, which helps her son Gabriel eat and speak.

“We waited four to six months for that wheelchair. It takes a long time to get special needs equipment,” Carter-Olsen said.

She got a phone call Wednesday night at midnight and considered not answering, but she is glad she did. The police were calling to let her know someone turned in the wheelchair.

“They did the right thing. High five to them,” Carter-Olsen said.

Even if the family bought another wheelchair, it would take weeks before they received it. That is why they are so happy that the person who returned the wheelchair, who says they bought it off the street, decided to turn it in after watching stories about it on the news.

“Kids with disabilities know that they’re different,” Carter-Olsen said. “Gabriel’s very aware. He has a twin brother, so… I mean, the people who stole it thought it looked like a cool stroller, never knowing what it really meant. And once they found out, well, once the person they sold it to found that out, they were kind enough to turn it in. They had no idea what they bought, so that was nice of them.”

As the family tried to get life back to normal, they have a message for those who returned the wheelchair to the police.

“Thank you! Oh my gosh, I feel so bad that they were sold something that was stolen, and now they’ve lost money and had no idea what they had, and they were kind enough to turn it in,” Carter-Olsen said.

No charges have been filed as police are still determining who stole the wheelchair in the first place.

If you have information about the theft of the wheelchair, please call Pittsburgh Police.

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  • Stefanie Moser

    Is there a way to get in touch with the family who returned the chair? I am wondering what their own needs are in having purchased the chair. Is there a way that folks can pull together a contribution to bless them with a chair of their own??

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