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Handicap-Accessible Tricycle Stolen From Willmar Group Home

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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WILLMAR, Minn. (WCCO) – In the city of Willmar, Minn., bigger crimes have been committed, but it’s safe to say there are few more important to solve.

“A lot of people in Willmar know this bike,” Peg Gort said.

The three-wheeled, double-seated tricycle was purchased by Gort and her husband decades ago to give their mentally handicapped son, Brian, some quality outdoor time. It has been pedaled down the streets and sidewalks of Willmar for the past 35 years.

Gort says her 37-year old son lives in a state-run group home for the disabled. And ever since Brian was little, his stable treat was taking rides on the specialty-built tricycle.

“He was very limited in what he could do, due to his disability,” Peg said. “He’s profoundly mentally handicapped, and it was one of the freedoms we were able to find for him,” Gort said.

Unfortunately, the last time anyone saw Brian’s tricycle was on July 13. It was left alongside the group home’s garage along Terrace Avenue Southwest in Willmar.

But sometime over the weekend, the tricycle went missing. It hasn’t been seen since.

“It makes me angry, of course, and sad,” Peg said. “We worked hard to give him some kind of social life and now part of that is stripped away.”

Replacing the custom-made tricycle would cost more than $1,500 if they could even find someone willing to build one. So Peg is hoping and praying that someone out there has a heart, or at least a conscience.

She is only asking that the person who stole it, returns it.

“I just want it back in the yard, even if we have to repair it,” she said. “We’ll figure out a way to repair it. We just want it back for him.”

The tricycle is painted orange and stands about 3-feet tall on normal-sized bicycle tires. In addition, it has a metal basket attached to it, as well as a decorative license plate that simply says, “Brian.”

If you’ve seen the tricycle or have any idea of its whereabouts, call Willmar Police at (320) 214-6700.

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