Woman housebound after wheelchair motor stolen 0
Karen Pawis has been left 'totally absolutely helpless' after a thief posing as a Good Samaritan made off with her wheelchair motor. (STEVEN CHUA, 24 HOURS)
Police are investigating the theft of a motor from a wheelchair-bound woman in the Downtown Eastside.
Karen Pawis, immobilized by osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis, was victimized on the afternoon of July 19 by a thief posing as a Good Samaritan.
According to a Vancouver Police Department report, a man in his late 30s stopped by the 600-block of E. Hastings St. to help the 66-year-old as she struggled to get her motorized chair to work. He offered to repair it.
He then looked underneath the chair, removed the motor, and asked for money to buy a replacement. She obliged him with $40.
The stranger left, promising to buy the part.
He later returned and said he needed more time and money for the repair. She gave him another $20. He then left never to be seen again.
"It's always concerning when we get reports of crimes committed against our most vulnerable citizens and we would hope that the person who allegedly committed this theft does the right thing and returns the motor ." VPD spokesman Lindsey Houghton said in an email.
For Pawis, the theft was beyond comprehension.
"I'm just in hell, absolute hell, that's what it feels like . It's the worst thing that could ever happen."
The DTES resident is literally incapable of moving without her motorized chair. Every gesture is painful, and without it the only trip she is capable of making is to the toilet and back to the couch where she literally spends her days.
"It's my independence," she said, describing what the chair meant to her.
"I'm just so helpless now with my chair being gone. I'm totally absolutely helpless."
With no family to help her out, she's been seeking assistance from Mission Possible. The local community outreach program, however, doesn't have the money to replace the $1,600 motor.
Mission Possible has now set up a fund for those wanting to help via a link on its website, mission-possible.ca, through the "donate" button and specify Karen Pawis. Alternatively, phone Linda Green at 604-253-4495.