By Paul Burton

LAWRENCE (CBS) – Police are looking for a suspect or suspects who stole an 8-year-old’s wheelchair from the family’s front yard in Lawrence on Wednesday.

Heeclif de la Rosa’s 8-year-old son Isaiah has cerebral palsy. He can’t sit, stand or walk, and the very thing he needs the most was stolen from him: his wheelchair.

“I cant beleive anyone would do this. We are parents who do anything we can for him and this just hurt us,” said Isaiah’s mom Meilene Velazquez.

When WBZ-TV initially ran the story Thursday evening, all Isaiah had left is his broken wheelchair, which he also out-grew. The one that was stolen is the one the family used to transport him in everyday.

“You have to think someone needs it to get around. So it’s pretty hard to think someone would blatanly come up and take it,” said Heeclif.

WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton reports

Without Isaiah’s custom wheelchair, Heecliff needed to carry him around wherever they went.

“Obviously, as you can see, he’s a pretty heavy kid and without the wheelchair we cant do anything,” said Heeclif.

Fortunately, that all changed in a matter of hours after the story aired. The family called to say a number of people had already offered to help replace the $3,000 custom wheelchair. They say they are grateful for the help.

Right now police say they’re looking for any leads in the case.

“There were no witnesses to it… Likely someone came by saw it and took it and we’re thinking that might be the case. We had officers check the immediate area,” said Lawrence Police Chief John Romero.

Isaiah has already missed two days of school and three therapy sessions, which he desperately needs. His family hopes to get him back to class as soon as possible.

“How could you do it? you don’t have a heart. this is a kids chair,” said Meilene.

Comments (86)
  1. Willow says:

    What a horrendous act. How can this person live with themselves? Obviously they have no conscience. Is there a fund being set up to help this family? I don’t have $3,000, but if I did they would have it. I’m sure there are many that would like to help. A little from many adds up.

    1. Fnerd says:

      Some comments really need a “dislike” button.

    2. Stephanie in AR says:

      I you read the story the broken wheel chair is an old one he had outgrown *not* the one that was stolen. Keeping an outgrown wheelchair is a common practice for families with disabled children then, if the good one has to go to the shop at least the child can be upright for part of the day & moved very short distances within the family home or yard.

    3. Timothy B. Taylor says:

      The heck with needing a dislike button for your comment. I want to drop a piano on your head.

    4. amitor says:

      Why don’t you give them the benefit of the doubt, before you make such unkind comment.Probably, you will be the kind of person that will do somethings like that.

      1. Ready says:

        Who should be given the benefit of the doubt? The thief/thieves?

      2. amitor says:

        The comment was made about the parents, not the thieves.These low life rats that stole it,should be force to use a wheelchair as their means of transportation.

  2. GAFC says:

    Please, let us know where we can send a donation

  3. emom says:

    what is this world coming too.. First a dogs wheelchair NOW THIS. I would like to take the freak show that stole this chair strap him down so he cant move and take away his ride… what a jerk…… oh I wish I can really say what I mean…… BBBBUUUUTTTTTTTTTT………….. filter will not permt it….

  4. A^2 says:

    Agree with GAFC – please alert the public as to where donations can be sent to help the de la Rosa family. We would like to help.

  5. emom says:

    You know as a bit of mercy with the JERK that took this little boys wheelchair…. Jail will not change them, fines will not deter them , I feel a better option….. Have this person or persons, spend time with the family, see what they must do on a daily basis, what it takes to care for this child. have him read to him, help feed him, wipe his mouth , push him around, carry him to bed, carry him to and from a car. have him/them do what the parents must do to care for their little boy. see the love they have for him and how they care for him. have them be part of their life so he/they gets to see what they have done disrupted their lives and that of their son. Make this same persons(S) go and volunteer at a therapy session with other cerebral palsy patients, see their struggles , Have this person attend a special gathering similar to that of the special Olympics , I am sure there are events for some of these children… Have these individuals see how that what they had done was a disruption to this boy and his family.. Its not a punishment, But maybe a way to convert them from a life of crime. The had done similar things in the past and it did work.. This is a small time prank crime of sorts… maybe and intervention of this nature would be the best answer.. Save courts and money.. ITS AN OPTION.

    1. Willow says:

      I like your idea for punishment for this thief. It would certainly show him how difficult daily life taking care of a disabled child can be, especially when his special equipment has been stolen.

    2. taosuntzu says:

      Kinda like in Seinfeld where the court awards Jerry a butler ?

    3. Digger says:

      Real justice would be to break both their legs and not give then
      crutches or a wheel chair.

    4. omstrat says:

      Forget it . A cap in each knee of the person who did this. Shatter their knee caps to splinters and drop them off downtown and tell them good luck , see ya .
      THAT my friend is justice

  6. emom says:

    Thank you willow,, With cost of court cases and the public the ones to foot the bill, I feel in many cases there is a far better solution.. Jail does not seem to sway these small time thugs.. I beleive INTERVENTION for the crimes they have commited is much better and less costly and the out come Could be far better.. Thou I have not had a situation like this I do have a dissabled family memeber, And I would have this as a punishment or if you would call it INTERVENTION to right side of life.

  7. lorrie scullin says:

    What is it with people? First someone stole the dog’s wheelchair and now this child’s wheelchair???? Geez, wish that people would stop doing these “shock jock” type of things. What did this dog and what did this child do that so bothered these people????? Get a life to whoever did this.

  8. mm123 says:

    Shoot ’em on site!

  9. Cathy says:

    Sigh. This is a depressing story. I would say the appropriate punishment for stealing a little boy’s wheelchair would be to ensure the thief needs to use one himself…. Hope they catch him?

    1. Sean says:

      It’s a story that has a happy ending when it shows how one thief’s inhumane act can be countered by dozens if not hundreds of Bostonians and Americans who want to help make the situation right with a small donation. Don’t be sad about the one jerk who deserves to rot. Be happy about how many people want to help.

      1. Brian says:

        Ahh… thanks Sean. That’s just the right perspective. Take comfort that in the blessing of so many people with good hearts rather than the single individual without one.

      2. Dallas says:

        Well said Sean!!! lets get this kid a better chair than the one stolen and maybe some extra donations to help with medical costs!! We can make a difference!!! I’m in, let me know where to send a donation!!

      3. Dallas says:

        Oh and maybe add Lojack to the chair this time!!!

  10. amy says:

    I hope the cops see to it that the thieves end up in a wheeichair – animals.

    1. Mark Brunstetter says:

      Amen. This has to be the lowest of the low.

  11. Brent says:

    Why did the parents leave such a valuable, important medical device in the front yard presumably unattended?

    1. lala says:

      I will answer that from experiance… to carry a child you need both arms and when you go into the home you probably cannot put them down (lay them) as they will cry… so you have to get them situated… it really is a 24 hour job.. I am sure they did not just “let it sit out”

    2. omstrat says:

      Yea that’s the answer blame the parents for leaving the wheel chair outside not relevant at all. You supposed to be able to leave stuff in your yard , but the hip hop thugs don’t know that do they ?

  12. Vendicar Decarian says:

    With 2.5 million people in Prison, you would think that America would have locked up all of the lowlifes by now.

    What do you think it is about America’s money grubbing, selfish culture that keeps breeding these pieces of garbage?

    Oh, wait… The question answers itself. Sorry, carry on.

    1. lance uppercutt says:

      Because only Americans are capable of being lowlifes, right? It’s American culture that creates crime, right? Wrong. It’s a human condidtion. Keep your hatred of America out of this, it just makes you look crazy.

    2. Rob says:

      “America’s money grubbing, selfish culture”… You have no idea how much we as individuals and as a nation give away. We have ALWAYS been a charitable people. Your comment is without basis.

      1. lala says:

        I agree… if America is so bad…please leave

    3. CBS Reader #43 says:

      Looks like America’s prisons are missing one low-life.

  13. Ryan Mouk says:

    I hope the cowards that did this realize what wastes of life they are. These bags of human excrement deserve to have their legs broken.

  14. Paul says:

    My question is, why would you leave a $3,000 wheelchair in a place where it can get stolen? This isn’t the time where you can go to bed with the door unlocked. Leaving anything valuable unattended makes it as much your own fault as those who take it themselves.

    1. mrp says:

      Paul, from reading other news sites – the family keeps the chair locked in their van at night. In the morning the father gets the chair and leaves it on the porch while he goes upstairs (they live on either the 2nd or 3rd floor) and carries his son down to the chair. While he was bringing his son down to his chair it was stolen.

      1. lala says:

        thank you mrp… I have a disabled son and I am 5’9 and 115 is a process for me to get my son in and out of house and he is only 4… so I can imagine what they go through.. I also have a toddler daughter … so to get them both in the house or out is a big deal.. and my son also does not sit so you cant just lay him on the floor..which is what I have to do sometimes to finish getting everything… thank god we have so many wonderful people who helped this family… this is why America is so great.. the people

  15. Marbran says:

    The real crime is charging $3000 for a wheel chair! What sort of name is Heeclif? I also notice that the parents aren’t married. So typical.

    1. Liz says:

      It’s a custom-built piece of medical equipment. $3,000 is not a crime.

      Heeclif – I’m thinking its maybe the way mom/dad heard someone say “Heathcliff” and liked the way it sounded. It does sound silly though.

      So what if the parents aren’t married? What does that have to do with the fact that they are together, dad is actually in the picture helping out with his son and acting like a man should. Wouldn’t it be more typical if dad wasn’t in the picture and this little boy was living with his grandma? But again – what does that have to do with the fact that his chair got stolen?

      1. Marbran says:

        Custom built? I see wheelchairs all the time, from the basic ones the hospitals generally use, to the mega-machine that Stephen Hawking cruises around in. The only reason why these devices cost so much is because most of them are paid for by Medicaid/Medicare, or some other insurer, so the manufacturers jack up the price. A Hoveround costs about $9,000, and they even state in their commercial that “most people pay zero out-of-pocket costs.” It’s a rigged system at the taxpayers’ expense.

        How do you know Dad is in the picture? The article doesn’t say that.

      2. Ready says:

        It DOES matter and it IS important and valuable for kids to be raised by MARRIED parents. It has to do with stability, emotional obligation, responsibility, honor, and the maturity of full acceptance of and offering of love for your offspring.

        Your comment saddens me in that it proves what low standards we’ve reached when we think that a shack-job is a solid foundation for the handicapped offspring of said shack-job. I’m not slamming the comment – I’m just pointing out how far our society has fallen.

    2. ROBYN says:

      wow! can you even read in english?? because the whole story is about a dad and HIS son..

      1. Marbran says:

        Yes, but obviously you do not know how to type in English. Try using some proper punctuation next time. And the article is about a stolen wheelchair, not about a father and his son.

      2. Edge of Red says:

        Marban… check the caption under the picture…

        “Heeclif de la Rosa and his son Isaiah, whose wheelchair was stolen.”

        Ya, it’s about a man and his son. Comprehensive reading is obviously not your forte, eh?

      3. Ready says:

        Actually, if you were to take a moment to read the article’s subject title, you would notice that the point of the story is to report on a wheelchair being stolen from a young boy with cerebral palsy. The subject title is, “Wheelchair For Boy With Cerbral Palsy Stolen In Lawrence”, not “Father And Son…..(anything)”. The point of the story is that some feral savage stole a wheelchair from a handicapped child. It is NOT a treatise on this father-and-son relationship.

    3. Zorki1c says:

      Marbran: You are an idiot–and not a whole lot better in my estimation that the people who stole the wheelchair.

      1. Ready says:

        Dude (or dudette), you are actually the idiot. Marbran got two of his three points right. You’re 0 for 1.

        That makes your “estimation” irrelevant.

    4. Ready says:

      Marbran, you’re right about the chair prices being inflated because the sucker taxpayers are paying, but your crack about Heecliff’s name sux. Heecliff didn’t name himself. You’re right – he and the mother should be married.

  16. Bill in Tennessee says:

    There are heart-dead, soulless people wandering the streets of America, and this article is more proof of that. They live among us, if you can call that living, not learning from their lives, not feeling any empathy for others, not thinking of the future, or the consequences of their actions, thinking only of their immediate wants, the next fix, the next meal. They wander aimlessly among us like zombies, and one can one wonder if their lives, and ours, would be better off if they were put down like rabid dogs?

    1. doctordoom says:

      not. maybe someone else needed the chair more than the kid? or maybe the dad stole it from someone else and they recovered it. or just maybe the family sold it for drugs and then made a big story out of it to get more money.

  17. phreetoz says:

    While this is a depressing story, I do hope it’s true. Like others have said, they could have sold the wheelchair, or just made the story up for a new one. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, because that would make them worse than the thieves who would do such a horrible crime.

  18. Hank Warren says:

    Crime and diversity, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our rights:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
    Impeach Obama, vote for Ron Paul.
    (Last link of Banned Book):

  19. Taxpayer says:

    Well, we all know Medicaid/Medicare paid for that chair, so WE the tax payers are the ones that are getting stolen from.

  20. JeddMcHead says:

    There’s a special place in HELL for these thieves. They’re probably the same ones who stole the wheelchair from that crippled dog earlier this week.

  21. Ryan Hultquist says:

    Find the thieves and kill them. They are not humans but animals in the shapes of men.

  22. T says:

    Maybe this is what is meant by the “Zomiepocolypse” where these brain-dead/liberals/anarchists people wander the street robbing, stealing, raping, murdering and aren’t able to be stopped without serious force. If the food prices, gas prices, and jobs deteriorate, I hate to see what’s next. Scary stuff to think about, but if gas prices jumped (think 07) and supply dwindled for more than a year, it could get really ugly.

  23. KT says:

    Every third week of the month, we’re instructed in our city to put bulky trash out on the curb. People put out old chairs, desks, etc. These things are never still there by the time the truck gets there. People here know if you see something out on the sidewalk, it’s free.

  24. DrudgeReader says:

    This is Obama’s fault,

  25. Harold Kint says:

    People stealing these multi-thousand dollar wheelchairs will come to know that other well-meaning people will quickly replace the wheelchair upon its disappearance.
    Other than a serious inconvenience and short emotional burden to the disabled victim and familty, the perpetrators will come to believe there is no harm in doing this sort of act.
    In this world where bad can mean good, this will ostensibly be viewed as a win-win.
    The victim gets a new wheel chair.
    The well-maaning-well-wishers feel good about helping the vistim.
    Onlookers get to have an emotional release over the incident.
    CBS makes money off of “reportiong the news”.
    The perpetrators get a couple hundred bucks to buy drugs or food.

  26. Ben Dover says:

    Check the pawn shops.

  27. EileenQ4 says:

    There is a growing number of morons in this country. Very scary.

  28. EileenQ4 says:

    Scary to the point that makes me want to buy a gun for personal protection from the growing number of morons.

  29. Richard Walks With Grizzlies says:

    My 8 year old great-granddaughter has Cerebral Palsy.
    She does not need a wheelchair, but she does wear
    braces etc. If someone stole her braces I would track
    the S.O.B. down and give him/her a bit of 12 gauge
    Frontier Justice.

  30. George says:

    If this chair was so important to them what was it doing setting out in the front yard.
    Having lived around certain groups of people I would suspect this. Daddy sold the chair and with this public plea will most certainly get a new one that he can offer for sale at a later date?
    Some people really know how to use the We Needs Hep Card.

  31. Mark says:

    Anybody check Willie’s office or condo?

  32. Daniel A Hunt says:

    i’ll bet 50$ the thief of both this wheelchair and the dogs is an “african-american”

  33. 1776 says:

    Subhuman scourge…stealing anyone’s wheelchair is verminous, but stealing a child’s (overpriced) wheelchair deserves some “hot lead injection”.

    1. Harold Kine says:

      …Overpriced wheelchair… How much should it cost?

      Sophisticated ellectronic controls, batteries, charger, motors to propel the chair, Chairs like this will carry people safely for miles. you don’t do that with a D-cell batteries and the guts of a remote control toy car.

      Cost of durable medical goods includes potential liabilities. (insurance, attornies, etc) Whether that’s appropriate ior fair, that’s rality.

  34. UNCLE RUCKUS says:

    sounds like tnb to me …gibs me dat

  35. tnmccoy says:

    My heart goes out to the family, especially Isaiah. I know how hard it can be to get around, though I’m not in a wheelchair yet. But I have to wonder why the wheelchair was left unattended out in the front yard? I do hope he can get a replacement soon, and the thieves are caught and punished. If the wheelchair is found okay, then he can use it as a backup. To steal such a thing as a wheelchair is an especially horrendous act, and I hope the punishment is equal to it.

  36. Gabriel says:


    You’ve made a total FOOL out of yourself…..quit while your ahead.


  37. Curmudgeon10 says:

    Bad story. But if you live in a crime prone area, how do you figure you can leave a $3K item unattended and unwatched in the FRONT YARD?

  38. Pessimist says:

    parents did it, and they sold it to buy crack

  39. Doflah says:

    I guessing the perp was black. Just a guess but it is very plausible.

  40. Ready says:

    I see some posts in which people express the idea of punishing the perpetrator by making him spend time with this family or another such family to see the trials of daily living that afflicted people are forced to endure.

    Let me tell you something. The feral beast(s) who took the chair are not going to learn anything that way. If they possessed the compassion needed to get such a message, they wouldn’t have done this in the first place. This is not a “teachable moment.” These savage(s) should be permanently removed from society, and I don’t care if it’s with a cage or a bullet. This family isn’t the only victim of this sort of crime. It’s happening all over the country – savages running wild in the streets victimizing the halt, the lame, the elderly, small kids and anybody they can overpower with sheer numbers. They beat, kill, rape, rob, loot and pillage at will. There’s only one way to put an end to it, and it really doesn’t involve our useless, over-indulged revenue collectors that we call “cops”. Fight back or be a victim. Do NOT think you can rehabilitate feral savages. You can’t.

  41. iconico62 says:

    The thief/thieves should be punished in kind: have him/them clean the highway wearing a sign that describes what he/they did. But it has to be at least 5 miles away. And they have to walk to and from their home to the highway.

    1. Ready says:

      Lol, that’s it? That’s all you’d do for punishment?

      1. Dallas says:

        maybe if the sign weighed 25lbs and was hung around the neck with barbed wire!!

  42. Joe G says:

    No one in his black/hispanic neighborhood will donate. White people reading this article will.

  43. James Milber says:

    This is nothing special that needs to be in the news. For godsakes, if you leave a $3000 item outside, it WILL be stolen. Thieves don’t care whose item it is, how old they are, or what disease they are suffering from… Thieves will still any expensive item that you are neglectful enough to provide them the opportunity for. I’m sorry they lost their wheelchair, but a stolen item doesn’t belong in the news— it’s happening every second in the USA. It sounds like hundreds of people are pouring donations into this family over this emotiona story, and they’ll likely profit above and beyond the cost of the wheelchair they LET get stolen. *sigh*– NOT newsworthy.

  44. reasonable says:

    With the very similar story last week of someone stealing a dogs whelchair in Roxbury it seems that either:

    A. Someone is going around boosting medical equipment in MA for resale. Possible since medical equipment is very expensive.

    B. The family saw that story, has a child who needs a new wheelchair, and thought this would be the way to do it. Possible since if you have a disabled child and do not have $3000 for a new chair you would do what needed to be done for the kid.

    1. Constance says:

      In response to the post left by “reasonable”

      I will choose A.

      I do not automatically assume people are thieves and liars. The kid needs a good wheelchair. That is the bottom line. His needs trump all suspicions.

      1. reasonable says:

        Constance – your comment – the kid needs a good wheelchair… his needs trump all suspicions. – makes it sound like you actually believe B.

        To be clear I would not blame them if it was B. You do what you need to for your kids and wheelchairs are expensive.

        The similarities between the 2 stories are very striking.

  45. Constance says:

    As usual, complete strangers in the American community step up to the plate and help. Just when I think all is lost, I read another story about people who offer donations, replace expensive items, reach out and do whatever is needed to set things right, whether it be for a dog or a little boy. We are a kind and generous people. We have our miscreants, but we have far more of plain decent people. I’m smiling now. Upsetting story, but good results.

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