‘It’s A Violation’: Thieves Steal Trailer From Man In Wheelchair

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Salvation Army dispatcher wants the thieves who stole his trailer to do the right thing and return his property.

Matt Stepaniak realized someone took his 4 x 6 utility trailer Thursday, which was parked outside his Bloomington apartment building.

Matt Stepaniak (credit: CBS)

Matt Stepaniak (credit: CBS)

The trailer had several layers of locks and was kept in his building’s parking lot near 95th Street and Garfield Avenue.

“It’s a violation. It did make me angry,” Stepaniak said. “It had a steel cable attached to boards and had a tongue lock on the trailer, so they were probably here a good 20-25 minutes untangling and helping themselves, unfortunately.”

Stepaniak’s utility trailer was not just the typical piece of storage equipment. It had an important purpose — hauling his wheelchairs whenever he left home.

“It’s frustrating because a person is supposed to have what’s theirs in their own home. Unfortunately, society is getting so you have to protect everything you own so well,” he said.

The thieves did not make off with much more than the trailer. Its only contents were a battery pack and some tools.

Trailer similar to the one stolen from Matt Stepaniak (credit: CBS)

Trailer similar to the one stolen from Matt Stepaniak (credit: CBS)

Stepaniak’s most important belongings, his wheelchair and motor scooter, were inside his home.

“I’m very thankful that I took my time and emptied the important stuff out of there,” Stepaniak said.

He estimates the value at about $4,000, but the loss is more than monetary. It is impacting Stepaniak’s mobility.

“Why they took this trailer from me and took away my ability to do my own transportation and scheduling is beyond me,” he said.

Stepaniak did report the stolen property to authorities. Anyone with information that could help recover the trailer is asked to call Bloomington police.

And anyone who wants to help Stepaniak replace his trailer can contact him at P.O. Box 20405, Minneapolis, MN 55420. Also, a GoFundMe campaign has been launched.

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