'Broke my heart': Thief steals partially-paralyzed stroke survivor's e-tricycle in North Aurora

'My stomach just dropped': Joey Klemencic's aunt, Susan, says the thief took away his independence and hope

Cate Cauguiran Image
Thursday, June 15, 2023
Partially-paralyzed stroke survivor's e-tricycle stolen in west suburb
An electric tricycle belonging to partially-paralyzed stroke survivor Joey Klemencic was stolen in North Aurora, the police department said.

NORTH AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- Stroke survivor Joey Klemencic said a thief took away his only method of traveling on his own.

More importantly, the thief took away his sense of independence and the happiness that came with it.

"It is absolutely my only way of getting around by myself anywhere that's further than this parking lot," Joey said.

A stroke left him partially paralyzed years ago.

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"I have typical left side paralysis," Joey said. "This arm doesn't really do much for me anymore."

An electric tricycle was the only way he could get around by himself.

But, on Monday afternoon, North Aurora police said a man was seen stealing it as Joey was inside a shop along South Lincoln Way near John Street.

"My stomach just dropped, because I knew how important this was," said Susan Klemencic, Joey's aunt.

Susan just happened to be in the same shopping complex at the time, getting food.

"I put my stuff down at the table, and I look, and there's a guy walking around his bike, so I'm watching. Then, all of a sudden, he tries to move it," Susan said. "And I go outside, and I yell, 'Hey, put that back!'"

Joey said his e-trike was stolen while he was doing the one thing he loved to do every day.

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"My Aunt Sue, she calls me and says, 'Hey, somebody just stole your bike,' and I'm like, 'What?!'" Joey said. "It kind of broke my heart that it was gone, because, you know, I don't have a lot of stuff in my life that I really enjoy, but the one thing I do enjoy is going to that vape store and seeing those dogs."

Police said the e-trike is valued at nearly $3,000. Joey said, for him, it was worth more than what it cost.

"I don't get to do those things that bring me the little bits of joy, you know, throughout the day," Joey said.

Susan said the thief took away Joey's independence and hope.

Joey and his family are pleading with anyone who may have information to help get his trike and sense of hope back.