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Posted on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 11:10 a.m.

Stolen: Therapeutic bike used by 8-year-old with cerebral palsy

By John Counts


The stolen bike is similar to the one in this picture, but blue and with standard handlebars.

Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office

A therapeutic tricycle belonging to an 8-year-old Ypsilanti Township boy with special needs was stolen sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning, according to the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies are investigating the larceny of a Rifton Adaptive Bicycle, which took place at an apartment complex on the 1200 block of Holmes Road in Ypsilanti Township.

The specialized bikes range in price from $1,200 and $1,800.

According to Sgt. Geoff Fox of the sheriff’s office, the tricycle was swiped from in front of the boy’s apartment.

“(He’s) out riding it pretty frequently,” Fox said. “Most of the neighbors should have known what it was and what it was used for.”

The tricycle is used to provide therapeutic exercise to children with special needs. The 8-year-old used it for physical therapy due to cerebral palsy, according to the sheriff’s office.

“He was trying to make his quality of life better,” Fox said. “That’s what makes this so despicable.”

The sheriff’s office doesn’t have any suspects at this time, but it hopes the community will reach out and help locate the tricycle.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office confidential tip line at (734) 973-7711 or 1-800-SPEAK UP.

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John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sun, Jun 24, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

I know the feeling.. I'm an unemployed Air force vet and my only transportation was my 3 wheeler bike which also rehabilitates my leg..and someone stole it off my back porch.. I had it all setup perfect for me and can't afford another. I doubt I'd ever see a thief riding it.. Someone setup a fund for me, not sure if it works.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

Isn't this the second time that a therapeutic bicycle has been reported stolen? What is wrong with these low-life jerks? Hopefully, someone will come forward with information and it will be returned.

Justin Awad

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 11:35 p.m.

Maybe if the Washtenaw County Sheriff wasn't so busy bugging me about my LEGAL fireworks, they would be able to keep up with the real problems around here.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

Justin...isn't there a different article you could have crow barred that into?


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

As dry as it has been they should confiscate your fireworks since you have been firing them off.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

What a bunch of SCUM BAGS...seriously what kid of cold hearted people do this...I hope they get caught and punished but the odds of them getting the punishment they deserve are pretty slim most likely a slap on the behind.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

Real nice, even the crooks don't have a heart anymore..............It's a sad commentary as to where we are heading as a society


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 7:04 p.m.

I sure hope they have a heart and return the special needs bike back. This is a shame, it was probably someone too naive to know the difference between a regular bike and one of special needs.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

As many times as this has happened recently I suspect the persons responsible for one if not all know just what they were stealing and have a buyer for the items. When caught they should be made to work with people with special needs. Besides restitution and jail time.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 6:23 p.m.

Pathetic, simply pathetic.

Emily Vandegriff

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

There is no such thing as a handicapped or special needs person! Everyone is a person first, so please use language that reflects this. People First Language indicates that a person with a disability is a person first. The word "handicap" should be used only in connection with golf or horse racing. A person with a disability may have alternate or different needs, but they are not special.

Emily Vandegriff

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 11:19 p.m.

Yes, Madeleine, I do have other things to complain about. If you think freedom of speech has been getting pounded, how do you think a person with a disability feels each and every time they are called names or are referred to by their disability, as if that is the only thing that defines them? When they are avoided by others because they're not "normal" like people who are able-bodied? When they can't get a job because employers don't know what to "do" with them, or, worse, see them as a liability? I am sick of people like YOU who perpetuate the mind set of the Dark Ages. Sorry if you are offended by people with disabilities, but a PERSON with a disability has just as much right to be treated as a HUMAN BEING as everyone else on this planet. So YOU can DEAL with that! I pity people who think they are so superior; everyone is just one illness or accident away from becoming a person who has a disability. Should that happen to you, will you be content as one of "the handicapped?"

Madeleine Borthwick

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

Emily, don't you have anything else to complain about?! we are getting so thin-skinned about everything! can't say ANYTHING without fear of offending SOMEONE. nuts to this. freedom of speech has been getting pounded in the name of political correctness and I am getting sick to death of it. FREEDOM IS NOT FREE. one of the prices we pay for freedom of speech is that we occasionally hear something we(gasp!)don't like. DEAL WITH IT.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 12:18 a.m.

What if they don't want to be known as a person with a disability?


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

Taking bets that when it is found it will have "spinners" on the wheels and a stolen flat panel t.v in the cargo area. Only because the thief took time to carjack an old lady...

Top Cat

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

Is there any means to donate to help buy the kid a new one ?


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

What is wrong with people?


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

I'm sorry but Ypsilanti is such a bummer.

Madeleine Borthwick

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

Tesla, I happen to know that there are decent people is Ypsi. if you don't like it, then don't live there. DUH!!!!!


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 11:24 a.m.

never in Ann Arbor!!!

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

It doesn't look like something that most of us could use. Why would they take it? Must be the old rule, if it's not locked down, take it. Disgusting.

John Counts

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

There seems to be a disturbing trend regarding the theft of equipment for those with special needs. We've reported on stories like this in the past. Just a few days ago, Kyle wrote a story about a "datemobile" bike stolen from an MS patient. You can find that story here: Back in March, about $20,000 worth of sports equipment for the disabled was stolen from the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living. You can find that story here:


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 4:55 p.m.

Don't forget the EMU student who lost his trike to thieves. If there is such a place as hell, I hope there is an especially hot place in it for such criminals.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

Isn't this the third incident of somebody taking a handicapped person's bike in the last few months? Have any of the bikes turned up? This is becoming absurd.