Theft of 9-year-old's wheelchair from front porch captured on surveillance video

·2 min read
Aaliyah Faulknor, 9, has cerebral palsy and can only walk just about three metres at a time. Her custom wheelchair was stolen, then recovered by London, Ont., police, but it's now unusable.  (Submitted by Hayley Fair - image credit)
Aaliyah Faulknor, 9, has cerebral palsy and can only walk just about three metres at a time. Her custom wheelchair was stolen, then recovered by London, Ont., police, but it's now unusable. (Submitted by Hayley Fair - image credit)

Surveillance video captured the moment someone stole nine-year-old Aaliyah Faulknor's bright pink wheelchair from the front porch of her family's Old East Village home in London, Ont.

While police made an arrest and recovered the $10,000 custom chair, it's been stripped of its parts and is unusable.

"You can see someone come onto our porch and take it and ride away with it on a bicycle," said Aaliyah's 21-year-old sister, Hayley Fair.

Fair said the suspect dragged the wheelchair behind his bike. 

Aaliyah has cerebral palsy and can only walk about three metres at a time, said Fair.

After a 14-month waiting period, the family was able to get the custom wheelchair six years ago through the Thames Valley Children's Centre.

WATCH | Surveillance video shows man walking away with child's wheelchair:

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At the time, the chair cost $8,000 and the family was given a 75 per cent subsidy. Two years ago, the family paid $2,000 to retrofit it to make it bigger.

On Wednesday morning, a London police officer came to the family home with the recovered wheelchair, said Fair.  

"They said that someone called them and said they found it."

In a news release, police said the wheelchair was found in a man's possession, and they're still investigating.

"A knife was seized and the suspect is currently in custody."

Fair said the wheelchair "has been stripped of parts, spray painted. The frame that's left is all bent. The parts that are gone are worth thousands of dollars. It's not repairable."

Submitted by Hayley Fair
Submitted by Hayley Fair

The money isn't the biggest concern in replacing the chair.

Instead, it's the waiting period to secure the proper parts.

"Our health insurance will probably cover it because it was on our porch," said Fair. 

But getting a custom wheelchair that is covered in part by subsidies would likely take more than a year, she said.

In the meantime, she said, the family is hoping for a loaner chair, although it's unlikely her sister would be able to wheel a replacement chair herself.

"We'll be able to get her places, but her independence will still be gone."

The good news? Since the story was first made public, a local fundraising campaign has raised close to $10,000.

Submitted by Hayley Fair
Submitted by Hayley Fair
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