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Due the media attention, the individual who had possession of the child's wheelchair contacted HCSO. The individual stated that he observed the wheelchair by the roadway and believed it to be scrap. He collected the wheelchair which he advised was placed beside the mailbox and curb of the roadway. He collected the wheelchair with the intention of cleaning it and then donating it to Metropolitan Ministries or All Children Hospital. The man collects used medical equipment which he reconditions, and then donates it
appropriately. He admitted to removing the wheel chair, but did not believe it to be of value since it was placed beside the curb in a manner consistent with Hillsborough County refuse collection procedures. Furthermore, upon learning of the reported loss, he immediately contacted and notified the victim he was in possession of the property and immediately returned it in the
same condition. He apologized profusely and admitted he erred in judgment by not speaking to the homeowner, but did not believe it to be of value due to it being placed beside the roadway.
On April 16, 2018 at approximately 7:20 am, the victim placed his disabled 6-year-old son's wheelchair on the driveway next to the street, as he has done every school day for the previous 2 years to alert the bus driver the child is going to school. Once the bus arrives, the child is carried out to his wheel chair and then boards the bus. On the wheelchair was his son's book bag, which contained a lunch box and glasses.
At approximately 7:30 am when the school bus arrived at the residence, the victim discovered that an unknown person removed the wheelchair, and the book bag that was on it, from the driveway.
The wheelchair is customized to the victim's son due to his disability. The wheelchair is described as a TiLite child's wheelchair with blue aluminum pieces and a custom headrest. The value of the wheelchair is estimated at approximately $10,000.00.
Anyone with any information concerning this incident is asked to contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 813-247-8200. You may also send an anonymous tip from a smart phone using HCSOSheriff app available on both android and apple products. To be eligible for a cash reward, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com or send a mobile tip using their P3 Tips Mobile application, which is a free download for iPhones, iPads and Droids. You must call Crime Stoppers first to be eligible for a reward.