Community rallies with donations to replace stolen wheelchairs for charity

Things were looking pretty grim for a charity that gives wheelchairs to the disabled until today.

- An investigation was continuing into the Van Nuys theft of a truck filled with 80 wheelchairs valued at $12,000 and destined for needy people in Indonesia, but the nonprofit group received donations to cover the cost of the pilfered items on Thursday.

The truck was stolen sometime Tuesday night or Wednesday morning from a gated parking lot at the offices of the nonprofit Global Mobility, according to the nonprofit organization.

The 80 wheelchairs were part of a shipment that was scheduled to be loaded onto a shipping container bound for Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and distributed to disabled children and adults, according to Aley Lopez, a development assistant with Global Mobility.

The nonprofit, in the 7500 block of Tyrone Avenue, provides free wheelchairs to people in need around the world. Lopez said the theft was reported to the Los Angeles Police Department's Van Nuys Division Wednesday
morning.

The theft occurred sometime between the end of the business day Tuesday and 8 a.m. Wednesday, when the truck was discovered missing by a Global Mobility employee, Lopez said.

The truck was parked in the Global Mobility parking lot behind a locked gate, Lopez said, but the gate opens automatically from the inside when an automobile pulls up to it, so it is possible the person or people who took the truck slipped through the fence.

The wheelchairs all carry the Global Mobility logo and are part of a larger shipment that also includes donated physical therapy and other ambulatory equipment, according to the organization.

After hearing about the theft, however, community groups and businesses responded with a series of donations. Assemblyman Matt Dababneh, D-Encino, delivered a check for $15,000 to the Global Mobility.

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