Wheelchair-accessible van stolen from Phoenix woman

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by Casey James

azfamily.com

Posted on October 6, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 14 at 6:52 AM

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police are looking for the person who stole a specially outfitted van from a woman Friday night.

It happened when Jill Michalski and her husband stopped at Brad's Place at 48th Street and Elliot Road to have a drink. She then went next store to Safeway to grab a few groceries.

Michalski said while she was inside the store, a shopper ran up to her and said someone stole her van.

"I ditched my food and ran out and sure enough the van was gone," she said.

Michalski's wheelchair-accessible 2004 Dodge Caravan had been stolen. She said she leaves the wheelchair lift down because it is so complicated to operate.

"There's no seat in the van and to drive it without a seat and then to learn how to manipulate it, I just figured, how could that have happened?" she said.

Even though police are looking for the van, it doesn't change the fact Michalski has no way to get herself and her husband around town.

"He can't drive at all so I'm totally the caregiver and take him to his doctors' appointments and taking myself to my appointments," she said.

To add the weight on Michalski's shoulders, she lost her job this year after 37 years as a speech pathologist for kids.

"It was paid off, so it was one less bill that I had to deal with," she added.

Michalski said there is no way she can buy a new van now.

"It hurts me deeply," she said. "I cried last night and I called some friends and I cried myself to sleep."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Phoenix Police Department.
 

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