CTV NEWS CALGARY VIDEO JOURNALIST
Published date: Nov. 07, 2023
A Calgary man who lives with cerebral palsy is heartbroken after his disability scooter was stolen from the parkade of his low-income housing complex over the weekend.
At about 1 p.m. on Saturday, Glenn Scott last used his left-handed scooter to travel to a nearby store from his apartment located at 2424 69 Avenue S.E. in the community of Ogden.
“I locked it up and then when I returned around the same time on Sunday it was completely gone,” Scott said.
“For disabled people like myself, we need these scooters to get around. It’s hard because it’s my transportation, I go and get groceries or to visit my family. It means a lot and I use it every day.”
The incident was especially shocking for Scott’s niece, Amy Omar. She says her uncle has gone through so much already living with cerebral palsy.
“A few years ago, he was hit on his scooter by a car, it took a long time to get back on his feet and a long time through rehab and hospitalization,” she said.
“This scooter means so much and it sucks that somebody would stoop so low to take it from him. He’s just so heartbroken, it gives him a lot of independence, he doesn’t need to rely on family to get around and so I think it’s important for people with disabilities to have this mode of transportation.”
Omar adds that she just wants the scooter back so her uncle can live his life comfortably.
“Please just bring it back to him, that’s all he wants.”
Calgary police confirmed to CTV News that an investigation into the incident is underway.
In a statement Tuesday, police said an unknown number of suspects entered the parkade between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. They took the mobility scooter and broke into five vehicles, stealing a driver’s licence, registration and insurance documents from one of them.
All five vehicles were damaged.
Police do not yet know how the suspects gained access to the parkade.
Anyone with information related to the crime is asked to contact the Calgary police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.
Anonymous tips can also be provided through Crime Stoppers at 403-262-8477 or online at calgarycrimestoppers.org.
ACCESSIBILITY ADVOCATES SPEAK OUT
Sean Crump is the founder of Included By Design, an organization aimed at reducing barriers for disabled Calgarians and leading the way in accessibility legislation.
He says it’s simply “unimaginable” that someone would take such a vital piece of transportation away from someone who desperately needs it.
“I couldn’t imagine myself losing my wheelchair, it is the item that creates independence in somebody’s life. It would be like stealing, you know, the legs off a person if you will,” Crump said.
“These items serve a singular purpose and it’s to get somebody independently where they’re trying to be and without that item, that person has no other options.”
Crump adds that the financial burden of having to pay for a scooter which could cost upwards of $10,000 is another major factor.
“It’s not like those items are inexpensive. I understand the need of having to find a means of income and maybe this is a way of doing that for the person that stole it, but this scooter isn’t something that you can just go and turn around and sell to anybody else,” he said.
“This is something somebody needs. This is something that impacts their life dramatically.”
Joanne Dorn, the executive director of Cerebral Palsy Alberta, also notes her organization is committed to helping those with all forms of disabilities.
She says these pieces of equipment are often not easily replaced, but efforts are being made to assist those in need.
“Things like scooters and other equipment are usually purchased by the individual themselves. If they have an insurance company, maybe some of that is covered, but a lot of that is out of pocket, which is really unfortunate,” Dorn said.
“With organizations like ours, we do have a funding request program that can help towards offsetting some of the costs but it definitely does not cover the full amount. They’re very, very expensive so hopefully, people will think twice before taking these items that are so important to an individual’s day-to-day activity.”