Stolen wheelchair recovered on Long Island

June 11, 2013 6:55:36 PM PDT
A $17,000 motorized wheelchair stolen from a man in Nassau County has now been recovered.

Police say the wheelchair was stolen by a pair of teenagers.

It belonged to Vinny Pinello, who has waged a 27-year struggle with cerebral palsy.

But it's a struggle that was made even more difficult after the thieves stole his wheelchair.

"It's important to me because it gives me independence," said Pinello.

Saturday night, police say two 14-year old boys broke into the house, stole Vinny's wheelchair and took it for a 'joyride' through the neighborhood.

When the battery died, they abandoned it.

Vinny's mother Carmela now says a neighbor found the wheelchair and put it aside for safekeeping in his garage.

The wheelchair has been recovered and returned to Vinny and his mom.

Vinny and his mother Carmela are living elsewhere. Carmela says the wheelchair was left, charging on the ground floor, where the teens allegedly took it.

The boys were arrested after boasting about it on Facebook, and told police where to find the wheelchair.

"They did tell the detectives that," said Inspector Kenneth Lack of the Nassau County Police Department. "Unfortunately when the detectives went back to that location the wheelchair was missing."

Vinny uses his wheelchair for just about everything, and it was custom-made.

Carmela cannot believe it's been stolen twice.

"It's sad that it happened, and that it had to happen to my son," she said.

The teens are due in Family Court in Westbury next Monday. They're charged with burglary and grand larceny.