$5,000 Wheelchair Stolen With Family Van

Suburban Family Leaves Van In Front Of Home

A 6-year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy is without his wheelchair after his family's van was stolen on Friday.

Nicole Slaughter said she had parked the 2002 silver Dodge Caravan and she and her three children went into their house in the Provincetown neighborhood of Country Club Hills.

Since they were planning on leaving the house again soon, they didn't take D.J. Slaughter's wheelchair out of the van.  It was stolen, apparently, between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., the boy's mother said. 

After reporting the theft, they waited all weekend to hear from police.

"I wasn't really concerned about the vehicle," Nicole Slaughter said. "We just wanted to get back D.J.'s wheelchair."

The van was found Monday morning on 148th Street in Harvey. The steering column was broken and the vehicle stripped. The wheelchair wasn't there.

The glittery blue chair was custom made for D.J. and cost about $5,000 three years ago from RehabTECH, Nicole said. Because the chair is custom, it can be adjusted to grow with D.J. and was expected to last another two years.

D.J. was visibly upset on Monday when he couldn't go to school.

"He doesn't verbally speak," Nicole said. "But I can sense his emotions. When he got up and his sisters were getting ready to go to school he looked sad, like, 'Why can't I go?'"

At Monday's Country Club Hills City Council meeting, Mayor Dwight Welch said he would be willing to help pay for a new chair if the insurance company doesn't pay for a new one.  He said he'd put up $1,000 from his expense account and asked aldermen to consider helping out.

Nicole said she is grateful for the offer, but can't stop thinking about those who took her van and her child's wheelchair.

"I'm just so upset," Nicole said. "I mean, who ever broke into the van and saw the wheelchair -- why would you steal that? Why would you take a wheelchair?"

Contact Us