Wheelchair lift of disabled veteran recovered, police say it wasn’t stolen after all

UPDATE: Moline Police say they have recovered the wheelchair lift of a disabled veteran, and say it was not stolen after all.

After sending out a press release about the alleged theft on Monday, several tips came in to Quad Cities Crime Stoppers.

The lift was found outside a Rock Island business and returned to Eddie Green of Moline around 2pm this afternoon.

"After you had the story, just a flood of Crime Stoppers tips came in and it looks like it fell off the vehicle in downtown Rock Island," said Detective Scott Williams.

"Police thought it was stolen, Mr. Green thought it was stolen," Williams said.

Green, who relies on two scooters and a walker to get around, said neither he nor his son knew it had fallen off the SUV.

"The good news is there is no "lift" thief, thank God, " said Green.

Viewers who saw the story had offered to buy a new lift.

"Then we had other people who had lost loved ones who had lifts at home who wanted to donated them, so in the end it was very much a positive," Williams said.

For Green, it was a show of support that really surprised him.

"I didn't know people really cared about veterans. I really didn't know. I really thank you guys from my heart. I would cry if I could because of the outcome., but I'm a man and a man don't want to show tears," he said.

Original post: 

MOLINE -- Police are looking for thieves who they say stooped to a "new low" after stealing a wheelchair lift from the vehicle of a disabled veteran.

"There's some low-down dirty people to do something like that, " said Eddie Green, of Moline. He is a 60-year-old Army veteran who relies on scooters after a heart attack and spinal surgery.

"I just can't move that good no more, legs don't want to do anything," he said, during an interview at the apartment he rents in the 2900 block of 11th Avenue in Moline.

Over the weekend, some thieves dismantled the metal wheelchair lift bolted to his SUV parked in the driveway.

"They broke it off, they broke the whole thing off. This was a necessity to me. I needed it. In the meantime, I gotta stay in the house, I can't go anywhere," he said.

His son, Steven Thompson, couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the Trailblazer without the lift on Sunday morning.

"Out of all the things to take from a person. A lift? It's just so weird. It's pretty heavy, like two to three hundred pounds. Whoever did it, they knew how to take it loose, because there's a plug under here. You have to plug it in," he said pointing underneath the SUV's hitch.

"People just don't care about anything anymore. It's really crazy," said Thompson, who lives with his dad.

Police say the "heartless" thieves may have sold the metal lift for scrap.

A new lift can cost between $2,000 to $4,000.

Green is on disability, and doesn't have the money to replace the lift, but says he has talked with someone at the Veteran's Administration who says the agency will try to help.

But, that could be a while. Still, Green is trying to keep a sense of humor.

"It may take a month before I get the lift back, so basically, I'm on house arrest, " Green said, laughing.

"I just keep smiling, that's all I can do. What comes around, goes around. Something's gonna happen to them, and they will feel the same way," he said.

Crimestoppers of the Quad Cities is offering a reward for any information leading to an arrest in the case. The Tip Line is 309-762-9500.