As she brought groceries and her son Ryan inside her house, Meghan Aberkane says she briefly left the boy’s wheelchair outside.
Aberkane and her 8-year-old son, who has cerebral palsy, had just returned home from running errands on Saturday evening, according to WPVI. The mom says she took a quick look outside of her window after getting her son inside, and then noticed something shocking.
“I went upstairs and something told me to look out my bedroom window,” she told WTXF. “I walked to the window and his chair was gone.”
It’s a crime that has left the mother angry — but also confused, she told WTXF.
“The person that the wheelchair belongs to, they need it. You don’t get them because they’re cool — not like bikes or motorcycles,” Aberkane told the TV station. “Who could steal a handicapped child’s wheelchair? I don’t understand. I don’t understand how you could steal a wheelchair — completely.”
Authorities are investigating, NBC10 reported, and are looking for any surveillance footage to help find the suspect.
As they continue to search, Aberkane has a guess about what type of person stole the wheelchair, which was custom-fitted for her son.
“A scumbag,” she told NBC10. “A scumbag steals a handicapped child’s wheelchair.”
Ryan will be receiving a new wheelchair for free from the manufacturer, according to WPVI, but it will take up to six months because of its custom design.
A GoFundMe page for Ryan and his mother seeks to raise money to rent a wheelchair until a new one arrives. The page had raised $6,800 of its $7,500 goal by Tuesday morning.
“The funding will be used to rent a wheel chair,” the page’s description reads, ”or provide access and wheelchair ramps to the house so (Ryan’s mom) can bring the new chair inside and it would not be at risk to be stolen in the future.”
Other friends of Aberkane have taken to Facebook to raise awareness about the situation.
Laurie Lipski Gipson shared an image of the 8-year-old boy sitting in his wheelchair, urging people to “please share this so we can get his chair back!!”
Her post has garnered over 200 shares in three days.
Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum, from the Philadelphia Police Department, said in an interview with WTXF that there will be “no questions asked” if someone returns the wheelchair.
“I’m sure the mother would just like it returned,” he said, “and that’s all we’re asking for.”