Shawnee man calls theft of his wheelchair ‘low’ and hopes new clue leads to recovery

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SHAWNEE, Kan. -- A man's wheelchair was stolen, and he says the crime strikes at his livelihood. Justin Shaffer was working at Lowe's near Shawnee Mission Parkway when the theft occurred, and he's hoping a new clue will lead police to the culprits.

“Like I’ve done a number of times, I’ve left my chair next to my car. It might be naive, but I honestly didn’t think anyone would take my chair. That’s pretty low,” said Shaffer.

Shaffer parked his wheelchair on the curb and jumped into his car to grab lunch last Thursday. He says he’s done it before and never had a problem, and was only gone for about 10 minutes.

“We actually passed each other in the McDonald’s parking lot and I had no idea that it was them,” he said.

Shawnee police released photos taken from surveillance cameras at Lowe’s. The cameras show a tan van with brown stripes, and two thieves taking the wheelchair before leaving the parking lot.

VanSurveillance

“They can return it to Lowe’s. Let this man have his mobility back,” said Major Dan Tennis with the Shawnee Police.

Shaffer is currently using a temporary wheelchair he bought off of Craigslist. He’s trying to raise enough money to replace the stolen wheelchair, which cost more than $2,000.

“It’s clearly a wheelchair that’s in great condition, it’s not trash. I don’t have a sign up that says 'free take me,'” said Shaffer.

Shaffer says more than anything, he wants to hold the thieves accountable.

He started a GoFundMe to raise money for his wheelchair and physical therapy. Shaffer was hit by a drunk driver 12 years ago, and his leg had to be amputated.