For years, 71-year-old Angelo Kiourkas has used an electric scooter as his legs.
Kiourkas has been mostly paralyzed from the waist down since a factory accident about 35 years ago. On Sunday evening somebody stole his scooter, parked in front of his home, in the 1400 block of West Jackson.
“I just thought it would be nice to say thank you to them,” said his wife, Shirley Kiourkas, her voice breaking with tears. “Whoever took it, I hope they need it more than he does.”
Neighbors and family members scoured the neighborhood, checking grocery store parking lots and back alleys for the scooter. They found nothing.
Shirley Kiourkas reported the theft to police, but she wasn’t hopeful.
Angelo Kiourkas rode the scooter to restaurants, grocery stores and the doctor’s office in warmer weather. In cold months, he drove the scooter out to his car parked in front of his home. He drove to his appointments.
Angelo Kiourkas has left the scooter in the same spot in front of his home for about seven years.
On Sunday, he left home about 5 p.m. to eat french toast, bacon and eggs at The Shed. Shirley Kiourkas, who helps out at the restaurant, waited on her husband.
The scooter was still in front of the home at 6:30 p.m. By the time Angelo Kiourkas returned home at 8 p.m., the scooter was gone.
“He can go only 20 feet on the crutches,” his wife said. “He stands on his legs and they hurt very much.”
One leg is 75 percent paralyzed; the other leg is 90 percent paralyzed.
The three-wheeled scooter runs on two batteries, to speeds of up to 5 mph. There’s a burn mark on the battery case, from when the couple’s son crossed wires when installing a headlight.
Shirley Kiourkas said she feared that Medicare wouldn’t replace the scooter, only 7 years old, for another five years. The scooter cost about $2,800.
“Merry Christmas,” Shirley Kiourkas wanted to tell the thieves. “I hope theirs is better than ours will be.”