Gurnee teen's wheelchair stolen from driveway

May 23, 2011 (GURNEE, Ill.)

The father of the Marlon Tapang, 16, who has cerebral palsy, says he put the specialized wheelchair in the driveway and thought the school bus driver put it in the bus. They quickly discovered it was gone when the school asked where his wheelchair and his backpack, which contained his work for finals, were.

"I was shocked. I was just shocked. I had no idea anyone would do something like that. Who steals a wheelchair?" said Marlon.

"That must be few minutes that something drove by and picked up very quickly," said Jarka Tapang, mother.

It was an exciting week for the family. Marlon was able to go to the airport in his wheelchair to greet his grandmother who came in from the Czech Republic to see her grandchildren on Thursday.

"He uses that wheelchair for practically every outdoor activity," said Nathalie Tapang, sister.

"It was so painful because it limits him more now," said Jarka Tapang.

It took years to purchase the wheelchair for Marlon because at first the insurance company did not want to pay for it. He only had it for two years and now it is stolen. Marlon has lost his lifeline.

"With the chair, I got around on my own a lot. Then without it, my mom really has to help me now get around the house. It is just harder without it," said Marlon.

The specialized sports wheelchair, made by City Mobility, will cost the family over $5,000 to replace.

"Just bring it back to me as soon as possible if you can, just because that would really help me out. I really need that," said Marlon.

Police say they have no suspects, leads or witnesses.

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