Victim in Brooklyn wheelchair theft: 'Without this chair, I can't move'

GRAVESEND, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Police in Brooklyn are searching for a man who stole a motorized wheelchair from a woman outside her realty office last Saturday, and they're hoping surveillance video of him fleeing the scene will lead to an arrest.

The incident happened around 3:30 p.m. at 86th Street and West 12th Street in the Gravesend section, and the victim tells Eyewitness News it could be months before she can get a replacement.

Margaret Leon relies on the wheelchair daily to get to work and make it to her doctor's appointments, but now, the heartless thief stole her mobility.

"I was in shock," she said. "I didn't know what to do...This chair has become a part of my life."

Leon has Multiple Sclerosis and needs her motorized chair to get to and from most places.

"After a block, I can't walk any longer," she said. "I get leg spasms, and I have all these other conditions that prevent me from continuing to walk...I can't go to the doctor's. I can't go to the store. I can't get food. I can't do a lot of stuff that I've used with my wheelchair."

She was leaving her part-time job when she went to use the restroom. She came back outside, only to discover the chair was gone.

"It just doesn't make any sense how someone could," she said. "I hope that he gets caught or somebody recognizes him on video."

Nearby surveillance cameras captured the man riding away in the chair before disappearing along Avenue U. Police are now reviewing others cameras in the area and asking anyone with information to give them a call.

"I can't do anything without this wheelchair," Leon said. "Pretty much without this chair, I can't move...I really hope somebody says something, because I really don't want to be a prisoner in my own home."

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
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