Charges laid after London, Ont. girl's missing wheelchair found 'unrepairable'
LONDON, ONT. -- A day after the mother of a special needs girl put out a call for the return of her daughter's wheelchair it has been found, damaged beyond repair.
Caren Fair, the mother of nine-year-old Aaliyah Faulknor, pleaded for the return of her wheelchair, which had been taken from the front porch of the family's home on Connaught Avenue early Tuesday morning.
‘I couldn’t believe it, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe that someone would take a little girls custom wheelchair,” says Fair.
London police say a local man was arrested Wednesday morning in connection with a separate robbery in the 1200 block of Oxford Street East.
‘We can say we have arrested someone in relation with an unrelated matter and he was in possession with a wheelchair at the time,” says Const. Sandasha Bough with London Police Service.
According to police the 29-year-old suspect entered a grocery story on Oxford Street East with the pink wheelchair.
Police allege that the suspect concealed a number of items, paying for only one. When confronted by an employee a physical altercation took place and the suspect produced a knife and what appeared to be a pipe.
The employee was struck and a woman was hit with the wheelchair as the suspect left. Depsite the altercation no injuries were reported.
Police say they located the suspect with the wheelchair and other stolen items in his possession along with several large knives.
As part of the investigation the girl's pink wheelchair was found in his possession and returned to its owners.
The suspect has been charged with armed robbery, possession of stolen property, breach of probation and assault with a weapon.
Unfortunately, the wheelchair has been significantly damaged. “It’s broken…I can’t use it,’ says Aaliyah.
"It’s really disheartening, it affects her entire life. Without the wheelchair we can’t do anything,” says sister Haley Fair.
The family has begun a search for a temporary wheelchair as they try to raise funds to purchase a new one. In just under five hours, the goal has already been surpassed.
Fair says the family is very grateful to everyone who shared their story and for the offers of help.