By Daniel Katzive
A 95-year old man received an unpleasant surprise on Tuesday morning when he discovered that his electric wheelchair had disappeared. According to police, the man was visiting professional offices at 277 West End Avenue at about 8 a.m. and, upon leaving after a two-hour stay, found the wheelchair was gone.
A police investigation uncovered video of an unidentified suspect driving the wheelchair away, heading south on West End Avenue shortly after 8am. Police have circulated a photo of the suspect and are asking the public for assistance in identifying him.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or in Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential.
The stolen wheelchair is valued at $2,570 and the theft is considered a grand larceny.
Simple solution: post this photo at the nearby housing projects along with a reward with info that leads to an arrest.
Is your next idea to just stop any black or brown person you see walking on the street because they probably committed a crime or are about to? When I went through loss prevention training in a past career, the training was statistics based. The most common shoplifters was a 4 year old white suburban married woman with a household income between $75k and $250k per year. So, to stop most US shoplifting, let’s start staking out PTAs.
For Short Hills, probably a suburban white woman. For the Upper West Side, a rich white woman is not taking that wheelchair. And Josh, guess what? Poor white people do exist.
Josh your thinking and overly exaggerated conclusions are the reason for the moral confusion that exists all across the country and most especially in Democratic strongholds.
Josh, you are lost. To bring up supposed nationwide profile stats to what has been going on in NYC the last few years, is blatantly unethical and transparently deceiving.
There’s a big difference between shoplifting and plain robbery. Lately shops robberies have been called shoplifting which it is not.
Josh, this wasn’t a shoplifting.
I wonder if your statistic regarding shoplifting is true for NYC.
If so, please share the source.
Josh, do you think that the person who committed this crime with a middle-aged white woman with an income between 75k and 250k?
Meanwhile a very old man does not have a way to get around. Where is the justice for him??
Rez, your comment is blatantly racist. As for what Josh is saying- obviously this incident is not shoplifting… pretty sure we can all agree there. Clearly he’s saying that profiling people is inaccurate (ie people wouldn’t typically think white women, as he described, would be the shoplifters… and yet he saw stats to show they are). Why everyone jumped all over Josh is beyond me- he made sense. Your comment is unacceptable.
Josh was using a statistic to shed some light on your racist comment. “Post this photo at the nearby housing projects”?! I mean, come on. The statistic wasn’t really relevant, sure, doesn’t change how bad your comment is.
This is so sad that thieves now steal wheel chairs from the disabled.
Interesting comment about the housing project …
I live near one and caught a resident stealing the packages from my building ( no doorman, just a buzzer).
I confronted him and he did give back the stolen boxes.
But is a disabled person supposed to go track down this criminal?
How do you know he lived in the housing project? Did he conveniently give you his name and address while you were confronting him over the stolen package? Or were you making inferences from his skin color?
This is a great example of how so much of policing is driven by racism. I think we can all agree that a senior citizen should not have his wheelchair stolen and that in a functioning society the police would work to recover the chair! That’s not at issue. The problem is that you have so many ignorant fools whose first reaction is “check the local housing project!” (translation: “find some brown people, they probably did it”). That hurts EVERYONE, because it’s both unfair policing and BAD policing.
There is a picture at the top of the article showing the suspect – it is pretty clearly a black man. So please stop with the cries of racism.
I agree that the poster who suggested they go straight to the projects is going a bit overboard. Though statistically speaking, a large portion of the Black community who lives within range of the theft lives in the projects, so this is not completely off the mark. This also is not a racist comment – it is a statistical fact.
I wish people around here would stop looking for things to get offended by. There is unfortunately too much racism and other hatred around, but let’s not make it up where it doesn’t exist.
Leon, I don’t know always agree with your comments, but I thought you were spot on here. Thank you. A voice of reason.
. “Though statistically speaking, a large portion of the Black community who lives within range of the theft lives in the projects, so this is not completely off the mark. This also is not a racist comment – it is a statistical fact”
Courtesy of Google,
Total population of Douglass Houses= 2672
(Not all Black)
Black population of zip code 10025 is about 13,000 or14,000
It doesn’t add up. Your comment (like the original one) is racist and not accurate.
The Amsterdam Houses (zip 10023) are much closer to West 73rd Street.
Sarah, I’m sorry if it was not clear by the word resident.
He was a resident of the Housing project.
I did file a police report, but nothing was accomplished with that.
Even if they catch him, he’ll be released with no bail and will do it again. There are no consequences for theft courtesy of our Manhattan DA.
Thank you West Side Rag for posting this.
Terrible story and hard to imagine how deprived this individual is that he would steal someone’s wheelchair.
Depraved, not deprived.
Agree completely. Utterly depraved.
As an “electric-chair” user I’d like to note that the fault is partially that of the building:
WHY wasn’t there a way for the victim to bring his essential (and expensive) device INTO THE BUILDING rather than leave it unattended outside?
Even if the building has entrance steps, there should be a way (back entrance? strong superintendent?) to bring the “chair” inside.
Agree! The ADA was passed 25+ years ago. Note, however, that 277 appears to have a street-level entrance. Were there internal steps in the foyer, leaving the owner with no choice but to leave it there?
“New York state law requires all buildings to provide access for physically handicapped people, with limited exceptions. Buildings in New York City and elsewhere in the state of New York must provide accessibility routes so people in wheelchairs can enter the building, common areas and parking lots.”
Adding to this point, not to blame the victim, but I was wondering if electric wheel chairs have some sort of a key that is used to activate it that he could have taken with him?
Understandably, one should not have to be concerned about doing that because it is only a truly evil human being who would think to steal the wheelchair, but I guess it might be a good thing to do.
Most (not all) do have a “key”, but these aren’t really designed to block determined thieves as many brands use the same one across the entire product line. In other words it’s more of a safety (as in, “don’t start rolling away”) deal.
Also, of course, many users simply leave the key in place and just turn it into the “off” position.
The professional office the victim was visiting should pay for his stolen wheelchair through their insurance or out-of-pocket. Why wasn’t he allowed to wheel himself into the lobby and leave the chair there for the duration.
You can’t turn your back for a second today: I left my coat on a chair in a neighborhood cafe while I went to have my coffee refilled at the counter, only to later realize that the $20 I’d left in my pocket was gone. I could’ve asked the cafe to replay its security cameras, but I let it go.
Absolutely agree! It is amazing how many professional spaces do not accommodate, or do a lousy job of accommodation for wheelchairs, transport chairs, etc. Supers and building managers should be encouraged by use of liability payments to lean on landlords – and on tenants – to insist on available, adequate, accessibility and safety for any mobility devices.
WSR it would be great to have a follow up to this story – is the chair user OK? Did the office arrange a replacement chair? This sounds like an odd arrangement – was this a usual situation for the chair to have to be left where it was taken from? What a stunning loss to have to deal with for a very senior person, and for their carers if any!
Good news – Guy who stole the wheelchair was caught!
By the way, I don’t know if you all know this, but the 95-year-old man who’s wheelchair was stolen is a Holocaust survivor.
And please, let’s stop blaming the victim for not locking his wheelchair! The lock is so the wheelchair doesn’t roll away.
I call that victim shaming, and not much anger at the sociopath who stole from the disabled?
Thank you for sharing good news, Cathy. Do you know if the chair was found?
I wonder what punishment if any the perpetrator will get. My heart is with the poor victim, a 95-year old Holocaust survivor, he/she doesn’t need any stress at this age, not to mention becoming immobile. I have no excuse for the perpetrator such as hard life, parental neglect, etc. a lot of people like to bring up as a defence and hope he is punished accordingly.
Well, yes, it does seem that some people who have lived through trauma end up lashing out and some don’t. While it’s clear that some people have more family support than others, the perpetrator must be taught a lesson he will not forget. What ever happened to mandating community service?
I hope no one read my comment to say that taking out one’s pain or expressing one’s Id on the back of an innocent is okay, however, a person who is unable to identify with the humanity of the other will be worse off after a short stay at Rikers. Community service and follow-up might help. And perhaps a meaningful regular—consequential—monetary payment, just to remind him not to re-offend.