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Victim of IE wheelchair theft gets custom-made replacement chair

March 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
It took a thief just minutes to steal a wheelchair belonging to Philip Wright's severely disabled daughter, Malaika.

Wright said he was getting his daughter ready for school Tuesday morning when he placed her wheelchair in the driveway for the bus driver to pickup. It was gone 13 minutes later.

"I brought her out, and he says, 'Where is the bag?' I said, 'It's on the wheelchair.' He says, 'Well where's the wheelchair?' And that was it," Wright said.

After word spread in the Moreno Valley community, a donor stepped forward and loaned them a used wheelchair.

Without one, the Wrights say their 41-year-old daughter, who was born with cerebral palsy and is developmentally disabled, would not be able to attend school with her peers.

"It makes me really upset. And the fact that the person would do that, knowing that the person is obviously handicap," Wright said.

But just as the Wrights were settling Malaika into her loaner wheelchair Thursday morning, they received some good news.

A caller informed the couple that the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and The Better Life Mobility Center, an advocacy group for the disabled, were offering to pay for a new custom wheelchair.

"I am happy. I believe that there is good in the human race that people have compassion. That people really do care," said Malaika's mother, Mildred Wright.

The Better Life Mobility Center took some of Malaika's measurements Thursday in order to build her a custom wheel chair, which will be delivered to the family sometime next week.

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