Stolen Wheelchair Accessible Van Recovered

Park Forest man initially thought missing van was a birthday prank

By Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010  |  Updated 10:30 PM CDT
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Stolen Wheelchair Accessible Van Recovered

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A wheelchair accessible van stolen from a suburban Richton Park Metra stop has been found.

When Randy Iliff couldn't find his van after work last week, he thought his wife was playing a practical joke.  After all, it was his 50th birthday. 

But it wasn't a joke.  Someone had stolen the Park Forest man's wheelchair accessible van.

The 1992 Chevy conversion van was parked in the lot of the Richton Park Metra station, where Iliff said he's parked without a problem for the past 12 years.  Since then, Iliff had been making the roughly two mile trip from the station to his home in his wheelchair.

But police reported Wednesday evening that the van had been found in Harvey.  Iliff plans to pick it up Thursday.

Iliff has dystonia musculorum deformans, which makes it difficult to take more than a step without a walker. He uses one around his house. The rest of the time he gets around in the motorized wheelchair and his van, the Southtown Star explained.

His wife works near the Metra station.  She said that on the day it was stolen, she saw it drive out of the parking lot but didn't think anything of it.  She thought her husband was simply heading home from work early.

Prior to getting the call that his van had been found, he said he wasn't angry.  He just wanted his van back.

"No questions asked.  Call the police and tell them you found it and I'll come get it," he said Wednesday afternoon.

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