Wheelchair theft stuns paraplegic

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 08:00 20/11/2012

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A 63-year-old Blenheim paraplegic's faith in human nature has been sorely tested.

Businessman Ross Cunningham said he was shocked when he discovered one of his wheelchairs had been stolen at the weekend.

He said the $6000 wheelchair was quickly recovered but he was left wondering what kind of person would steal it.

"I don't think anything I could say to them would make a difference."

Mr Cunningham is the owner-operator of The Wholesale Nursery on the corner of Hammerichs and Old Renwick roads.

He has been a paraplegic since 1979.

He discovered his wheelchair was missing from outside his house in White St on Sunday.

"It was quite a shock that somebody would flog a wheelchair," he said.

The wheelchair was one of two he uses - one for work and the other for home.

When he comes home from work, he switches to the wheelchair kept outside the house.

"It's been in view of the street for 15 years, though," Mr Cunningham said.

This was the first time one of the wheelchairs had been stolen.

He initially thought it must have been stolen for resale or by someone who was drunk, he said.

Police phoned him yesterday morning to tell him the wheelchair had been found near Blenheim School, in Alfred St.

"I feel a hell of a lot better about myself now," he said.

A specially designed cushion was missing from the chair when it was found.

However, Mr Cunningham found it under some bushes near his house.

"It was quite critical," he said.

"It's worth $1200 - it's quite hi-tech."

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- The Marlborough Express

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