‘Who would steal a wheelchair?’: 96-year-old Holocaust survivor speaks out after Upper West Side robbery

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) — Police are searching for a thief who stole an electric wheelchair from a 96-year-old Holocaust survivor outside a doctor’s office on the Upper West Side.

Now he’s talking about the ordeal, which happened Tuesday morning as Eric Plan walked into the office with his niece, Nina Klefin.

“My uncle said, ‘We’ll just leave it here. I’ve been to this office before and always left it out here. Don’t worry,” she said. “And then he said, ‘Who’s going to steal a wheelchair?'”

Plan survived the Holocaust, despite losing most of his family, so he knows full well how horrible people can be. But even he was surprised that someone took his $2,500 wheelchair.

“After two hours, when we were done with the doctor, the wheelchair disappeared,” he said.

Investigators say the person was caught on surveillance video driving away in a wheelchair from outside the office in the 200 block of West End Avenue.

“The wheelchair indicates there is a disabled person,” he said. “If it’s someone with limited funds, it would be even worse. That’s what upset me the most.”

Fortunately, he said he could buy a new one if necessary, but he hopes the police will find the culprit. They also hope it was taken for a good cause and not without reason.

“Someone was in need and they saw the wheelchair and they took it,” Klefin said. “I hope it was for a grandma or someone.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) .

READ ALSO | Man confesses to Queens murder, called victim a ‘witch’ who cursed him: NYPD

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