ELLWOOD CITY, PA. Cops recover boy's wheelchair
It would have cost $8,000 and taken up to a year for a new wheelchair to be made.
By MARALINE KUBIK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. -- A 5-year-old boy whose custom-made wheelchair disappeared when his dad's car was stolen in early December got his chair back after police recovered the stolen car near Pittsburgh.
Police recovered the 1992 Buick LeSabre on Thursday in a parking lot in Wilkins, Pa., after two women in possession of the vehicle were arrested on shoplifting charges.
The car was reported stolen Dec. 9, 2002, from the parking lot of Tic Toc Food Mart, 6888 McCartney Road, Coitsville.
"Now my son is able to go to school," said David Gebrosky of Ellwood City, Pa., who owns the car. "He'll be happy. He couldn't do any of his activities without his chair."
Gebrosky's son, Eric, suffers from an undiagnosed condition that has rendered him immobile since he was 6 months old. He can't walk, crawl or sit up on his own. The custom wheelchair, Gebrosky said, allows him to sit up and move around.
Replacing the wheelchair would have cost $8,000, Gebrosky said.
Fund was started
A local man affiliated with the Shriners who learned about the theft of the custom-made wheelchair started a fund to pay for a new one, Gebrosky said, but it would have taken up to a year for a new one to be made.
Now that Eric's wheelchair has been recovered, Amy Gebrosky, Eric's mother, said the money raised probably will be used to help another child.
Gebrosky drove to Wilkins, Pa., on Friday to recover the wheelchair and his 11-year-old car, which had sustained minor damage.
Monday will be Eric's first day back at school.
Police reports state that the women arrested, Michelle Helen Yarros, 35, of New Castle, Pa., and Teresa Rae Santapietro, 38, of Turtle Creek, Pa., told police they traded crack cocaine and heroin to a man they know only as "Eugene" in New Castle, for use of the car; they did not say when the trade took place.
The women are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on the shoplifting charges today in District Court 8 in Forest Hills, Pa.