Forty-four-year-old Michael Atkins is now trapped in his Oak Park garden apartment unable to go outdoors. A little over a week ago someone broke into his enclosed porch in the 100-block of Humphrey Ave. and stole his new motorized wheelchair that allowed him to do things he had not done in years. Atkins says the wheelchair was his lifeline to independence.
"It never dawned on me that someone would steal a wheel chair I think it is the lowest thing that someone would do. And honestly, whoever has the chair, I hope whoever stole it is someone who needed it," said Atkins.
Five years ago, when Atkins was in the prime of his life as a performer, professional dancer and national print model for several named designers, he broke his back in a fall after suffering from a seizure.
"I have no feeling from the knees down. Everything is swollen that is why the chair is important right now," said Atkins.
The accident left him bedridden for two years and he now suffers from neuropathy, leaving him with little mobility that allows him to move around in his apartment. He says he desperately needs the wheelchair to go outdoors, walk his dog and do errands.
Atkins says that since he broke his back one thing after another has happened to him. He got cancer two years ago he is now in remission and has hopes that someday he will perform again.
"If I get this treatment, I will dance again," said Atkins.
Atkins spends all day in his apartment with his dog. He hopes his wheelchair will be returned.
Oak Park police commander says they have no leads.