Stolen minivan recovered but wheelchair belonging to girl with cerebral palsy still missing
Published Friday, May 25, 2018 1:58PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, May 25, 2018 9:46PM MDT
**UPDATE: The Khlaed family confirms their stolen minivan has been found but Julia's wheelchair remains unaccounted for**
The Calgary Police Service is asking for help from the public as they attempt to locate a stolen wheelchair belong to a young girl.
In the early morning hours of Thursday, May 24, a thief stole the Khaled family's minivan from outside their home in the 2700 block of 9 Avenue Southeast. Inside the van was the wheelchair belonging to eight-year-old Julia who has cerebral palsy.
"Thursday morning, my mom told my brother to come outside and take the chair out of the van," said Julia. "Then he came to my mom and said the van wasn't there."
"At the beginning, I thought he was joking," said Mirna Khaled, Julia's mother. "I didn't believe it."
The recording from a surveillance camera confirmed the minivan had been stolen from the driveway of the family's home in Albert Park.
"I cried. I was sad," said Julia. "The wheelchair is my body and it helps me get around."
The family reported the theft of the minivan and wheelchair to police. Constable Andrew Fleming responded to the family's home to take the report.
"(Julia) was wearing a special dress," said Cst. Fleming. "She expected to go to school and celebrate that with her friends but couldn't because she didn't have the appropriate equipment."
"What can you say to a little girl who's disappointed and her quality of life's restricted by the loss of that wheelchair?"
Mirna Khaled also struggled to explain the thief's actions. "When it was gone, (Julia) said 'This is unfair. This guy stole a part of my body'. I didn't know what to say."
According to Julia, Cst. Fleming told her that the thief 'would pay for it' and to 'trust him'. "I totally trust this police because he's a good police and a nice police," said Julia with a smile.
Julia's wheelchair is a Tsunami Little Wave XP that was obtained through the Alberta Children's Hospital. The family's Dodge Caravan was found Friday evening. Mirna Khaled says the minivan was full of items that do not belong to her and are likely stolen.
Julia hopes to be reunited with her chair soon. "If I can get my wheelchair back that would be great because we can't go to market, we can't go to shopping, we can't go to the clinic even."
The eight-year-old offered advice to the thief. "If you want your own van, your own car, buy your own car."
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the wheelchair is asked to contact the Calgary Police Service at 403-266-1234 or anonymous tips may be submitted to Crime Stoppers.
With files from CTV's Jaclyn Brown