Brockton woman hopes for return of stolen wheelchair

A Brockton woman has a wish this holiday season – that her stolen electric wheelchair will be returned.

Because of a motor vehicle accident in 1991, Christine Perry has medical problems that require her to use the chair to get around. Since it was stolen from her backyard last week, she’s been confined to her home.

Medicare allows for a new chair only every five years. Perry will not be eligible for a new one until 2014, and cannot afford the $6,344 it would cost to buy one herself.

“It’s my livelihood,’’ she said. “I can’t get out and do what I want to do now.’’

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Perry last used the wheelchair to take a trip to the supermarket on Dec. 4. She does not have a ramp to take the wheelchair into her house, and locked the chair up in her backyard as she has always done.

“It’s chained, padlocked, in between two trees, covered with a tarp, a mattress, and a cement block,’’ she said. “It’s 50 feet from the street, it couldn’t be seen.’’

When Perry’s caretaker went outside to get the chair on Dec. 5, it was gone.

“They have to have a chain cutter,’’ Perry said of the thief. “They even took the tarp. They didn’t leave any evidence at all.’’

Perry still has the charger for the wheelchair. Without it, the chair will run out of battery power in the next few days and Perry fears the thief will simply throw the chair away.

The chair is specifically tailored for Perry’s needs, and features an extra-wide seat, a brand new right hand armrest with a joystick on the same side, and a blue plastic piece that covers the batteries.

Perry has already called all pawn shops in the area to alert them of the theft, and she hopes the wheelchair will be returned.

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“If they bring it back, no questions asked, no charges will be filed,’’ she said.

If she does get the chair back, she won’t have to worry about it being stolen again. A nearby Home Depot has agreed to build Perry a ramp to her home – free of charge.

Until then, Perry is forced to depend on her caretakers.

“This is Christmas time,’’ she said. “It’s supposed to be a happy time.’’

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