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Posted on Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

Theft of trailer containing sports equipment for disabled puts programs in jeopardy

By Kyle Feldscher

About $20,000 worth of sports equipment was stolen from the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living some time between Sunday evening and Monday morning, police said.

Ann Arbor police Lt. Renee Bush said police responded at 10:10 a.m. Monday to the center, 3941 Research Park Drive, after employees discovered a trailer containing handcycles and other bikes for handicapped people had been stolen.

Bush said an unknown person or people broke the tongue-lock off the trailer and used a vehicle to tow it away from the area.


These five hand cycles and recumbent bikes are all that are left for IRide after a trailer storing 10 bicycles was stolen overnight at the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living. Melanie Maxwell I

Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living Director Carolyn Grawi said the trailer was used for storing the handcycles, tricycles and other equipment during the winter months. With the start of spring programs coming in about a month, the thieves have stolen more than just property, she said.

“They didn’t just steal something off our property, but they’ve taken away the opportunity for people to be in this program,” she said.

Grawi characterized the theft as both shocking and sad. The equipment in the trailer was used primarily to help disabled people participate in cycling programs that are put on frequently by the center in warmer weather.

Among the programs is a four-day ride from Lake Michigan to Ann Arbor that the center puts on every year. All of the programs are now in jeopardy, Grawi said.

“It’s always so surprising when we try to do the right thing for the community and someone does the wrong thing,” she said. “It’s really sad.”

Bush said a theft such as this makes her feel sick and she urged whoever took the equipment to return it.

"For the people who are at the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living, this is important stuff to them," she said.

"This is special sports equipment and whoever has it needs to return it," she added.

Bush said the trailer itself was worth about $5,000 and the equipment inside of it was worth between $15,000 and $20,000. However, employees from the center are still compiling a complete list of stolen equipment and Grawi estimated the theft would cost the center about $30,000 in total.


Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living

Grawi described the trailer as a typical cargo trailer with doors on the back, side and front. The handcycles and tricycles are typically low to the ground, with thin tires and various supports for people with different disabilities. She said the equipment was highly specialized.

Jim Magyar, the center’s chief executive officer, discovered the theft when he came into work this morning. Grawi said her immediate reaction when told the news was, “Wow, who would do that?”

“First of all, what is going on in this day and age when people are stealing things all the time?” she said. “Second, we’re a nonprofit; we’re a non profit and this is stuff for people with disabilities.”

She added, “Maybe they think they were only stealing a trailer or bikes, but they don’t know what they are and the value to the community.”

Anyone with information on the theft is encouraged to contact the Ann Arbor Police Department anonymous tip line at 734-794-6939.


The interior of the stolen trailer.

Courtesy of AACIL

Update: Grawi sent a list of the stolen items to Monday afternoon. The handcycles that were stolen are a yellow Quickie Shark with x-link fork, a green Invacare XLT with quad grip cranks, an orange Invacare Topend Excelerator XLT Pro, a black Invacare Topend XLT (older model) and a purple Quickie Mach 2.

The leg-pedal trikes that were stolen are a blue Trailmate EZ Roll Regal, a green Freedom Concepts HSR-20, a pewter TerraTrike Short frame, a blue TerraTrike Long frame and a blue Worksman Personal Activity Vehicle PAV3. Grills, t-shirts and other misc items were also stolen, Grawi said.

Donations can be made to the center via mail or those who wish to donate can visit the center's website and donate there by clicking on the link on the right side of the page.
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Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Thu, Mar 15, 2012 : 12:57 a.m.

The Michigan prison population has shrunk by about 8600 in the past 5 years. Essentially the state government has decided to save money by allowing more people to be victimized. Nice.


Tue, Mar 13, 2012 : 1:39 a.m.

Scum. "First of all, what is going on in this day and age when people are stealing things all the time?" she said. Well, I gotta tell ya, these punks and thugs drive to A2 from surrounding communities, look for a quick hit, and take off. With the police cuts in A2 and soft on crime justice in Washtenaw Cty, it's easy pickin's. These thugs are rarely caught. As someone else mentioned, they probably only wanted the trailer and have no use for adapted bicycles. Definitely bottom feeders.


Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 11:30 p.m.

My guess is that they stole it for the trailer and they will dispose of the contents any way they can. I'm also guessing adapted sports equipment won't be that easy to fence. I hope this leads to their apprehension and punishment. Bottom feeders.


Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

I have to jump on the lowest of the low bandwagon because that was the first phrase that entered my head. When these creeps get caught they need to have a great big book thrown at them.


Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

Having two special needs grandsons, I find this to be the lowest of lowest. Total disgusting and I trust that they will be caught and punished accordingly. In the meantime, is there anything one can do to help.


Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.

In the short term, everyone can help us by keeping an eye out for the trailer or any cycles like these on sale and reporting it. Beyond that, our recreation program is now in rebuilding mode. Volunteers, participants, and donors can learn more at I hate for people to learn about us this way but here we are. Thanks for your comments.

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

I have corrected the address in the story.

mike gatti

Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

Hard to be glib or ironic about this. It just plain out stinks


Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 6:49 p.m.

Has anybody checked with Pixel Velosity to see if their cameras were functioning at the time?

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 6:53 p.m.

Carolyn Grawi said she hoped one of the businesses nearby had caught something on their video cameras, so that will be part of the police investigation.