Bionic prosthetic arm stolen from car in Pilsen

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Sammy Luther, 16, of North Aurora says his bionic arm was stolen from his family's car while he was in Chicago. (WLS)

UPDATE: A bionic arm that was reported missing on Wednesday was located at a Subway sandwich shop.

Sammy Luther, 16, of North Aurora, was born without his left forearm and hand. The $100,000 bionic arm is a top-of-the-line prosthetic.

Luther's father said the arm was found at a Subway restaurant on Halsted Street after a college student who heard about the missing arm saw employees playing with it and called police. Several fingers were broken, and it isn't clear how much it will cost to fix them.

Luther and his family ate at the Subway restaurant the day the arm went missing.


Sammy Luther, 16, of North Aurora says his bionic prosthetic arm was stolen from his family's car while he was in Chicago and a reward is being offered for its return.

The high school junior was born without his left forearm and hand, and he relies on the bionic prosthetic. He and his family believe it may have been stolen from the family's car in the city's Pilsen neighborhood.

The top-of-the-line prosthetic is worth nearly $100,000, but its value to Luther can't be measured in money.

"Without it, it's hard to carry things with just one hand," says Luther. "I guess it makes me feel whole. I don't mean to sound sad, but it makes me feel like I have two hands."

The prosthetic arm has been missing for a week and a half. Luther, who does modeling work, says that on Oct. 18, he was in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood for a photoshoot, after which he went to a modeling class.

The battery in the prosthetic had died, so he left it in the car. He and his mother believe they may have left the car unlocked. Subsequently, they discovered the arm was missing.

"We're just confused," says Derrick Luther, Sammy's father. "Why would anybody take that? It looks cool, I guess, and that's probably why they'd take it. It's just more of a disappointment because of the value."

"I didn't think someone would really come in and steal it," says Sammy. "I wasn't thinking anyone would be doing that. But it happened, and I was confused."

Sammy has used a number of prosthetics in the past, but this one, made of carbon fiber and titanium, is unparalleled. Chicago police are investigating, but Sammy's father says that if the arm were to be returned he likely wouldn't press charges.

"I just want the arm back," he says. "It's my son's. It cost a lot of money. It helps him on a day-to-day basis."

The stolen prosthetic was paid for mostly by insurance, but it's unclear if a replacement would be covered. The family now offering a reward for the arm, the amount unspecified.
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