LEONIA, N.J. -- Leonia police released a trio of surveillance videos Friday in hopes of finding the thieves who they said swiped a motorized wheelchair from a 14-year-old boy with cerebral palsy.
UPDATE (Sat., July 16): Police charged a Palisades Park man with stealing a disabled Leonia teen's motorized wheelchair.
The boy, whose name is Courtney, depends on the chair to get around.
The case hit home for Leonia Police Chief Thomas Rowe, whose 19-year-old daughter has special needs.
“After 25½ years, I thought there was nothing left in my career that would shock me or disturb me,” the chief said. “That’s not the case.”
The $12,000 wheelchair was parked in front of a business in the 200 block of Broad Avenue when one of the thieves hopped on and around 3:35 p.m. Thursday and went joyriding (see first video, above), Rowe said.
He described that man as Hispanic, in his late teens, about 5-foot-6 and 150 to 160 pounds, with dark hair and wearing a white Adidas shirt, black and white shorts and black sneakers.
He was carrying leather backpack, the chief said (see second video).
The other man was described as Asian, also in his late teens, about 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-7 and 140 pounds, wearing a shirt with black and white strips, black shorts and black sandals (see third video)
Both "may live in the area," Rowe said. "There are multiple videos of the theft and they will be made public as soon as possible."
Police in West New York recovered a motorized wheelchair, but it wasn't Courtney's, he said.
Anyone with information that could help investigators in the case is asked to contact Leonia police: (201) 944-0800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leonia PBA Local 381 offered a $1,000 reward.
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