Unfortunately, wheelchair theft is on the rise in the United States. Sadly, with the Holiday Season also comes a spike in thefts – especially at malls, shopping centers, nursing homes and medical facilities. Everything from specialty wheelchairs to simple transport wheelchairs are being stolen from homes, businesses and hospitals. These criminals are typically disassembling the wheelchairs for scrap metal, just to make a few dollars.
Here are a few tips to help stop these pathetic criminals in their tracks:
- Know the Serial and Model Number of Your Wheelchair – This may seem very simple, but having this information ready can help authorities verify that the stolen wheelchair is yours. Keep a picture of your wheelchair on you just in case. Even having a unique sticker or decoration on your wheelchair can be helpful.
- Consider a Locking Device – If you ever have to leave your wheelchair unattended, there are anti-fold locking devices similar to what you see on bicycles available online for less than $50. Other types of models are wheelchair specific and have tall bars that would make it impossible for thieves to get the wheelchair into a car without the key.
- Electronic Tracking Devices – New products are hitting the market that allow you to track and locate stolen objects directly from your smart phone. Most of these are specifically designed for wallets, keys etc…but are perfect for this as well!
- Don’t Leave Spare or Backup Wheelchairs in your Car or Garage – Both of these places can be an easy target for theft. If this is the only place you have room for a spare wheelchair, cover it with a sheet or tarp to avoid someone spotting it (especially if your wheelchair is or looks expensive).
- Alert Authorities and Online Community – If your wheelchair is stolen, don’t hesitate to contact the police. Using social media can also be instrumental in your chair’s safe return. Check sites like Craigslist and eBay for someone trying to sell it quickly.