FROM THE FRONT PAGE Tetraplegic has van stolen
A Cromwell tetraplegic has been left housebound and with no form of transport after his wheelchair van was stolen and left extensively damaged. David Dickson said he was ‘‘disgusted’’ by the actions of the perpetrators whose night of joyriding has resulted in thousands of dollars of damage to his van, which was his only form of transport. The 67-year-old, who has been a tetraplegic for nine years after suffering a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage, said until the van was either repaired or replaced, he was left with no way of travelling and effectively housebound. The van, a white Ford Transit, was stolen from a local garage, where it was getting a warrant of fitness, sometime on the night of June 20. It was taken for a joyride, before being left on Rogers St with extensive damage including damage to both the driver’s and passenger’s side, a missing wing mirror and a badly damaged windscreen where it appears rocks were thrown at it. Eggs were thrown on the inside of the van. Mr Dickson’s business partner and longtime friend Pam Wallace said she was furious by the incident and said the consequences for Mr Dickson were out of proportion to the thrill the culprits had that night. She said it was obvious the van, which has a hoist, was a wheelchair van, which made the actions of the offenders even worse. She had yet to determine if the hoist had been damaged. The van was insured but because it was fairly old the insurance company might end up writing it off and replacing it rather than getting it repaired, Mrs Wallace said. But whatever the insurance company decided to do, Mr Dickson was going to be without it for at least several weeks. ‘‘Ninety-five per cent of people can get a replacement vehicle if theirs gets damaged or stolen but David can’t. It’s not that easy for him. ‘‘I just want the people
to understand the consequences of their actions,’’ she said. Mr Dickson, who was the creator of the Get Dotted programme, needed his van to travel to and from the airport as he regularly travelled the country to deliver his programme. ‘‘It’s more than just an inconvenience, it’s a loss of my liberty,’’ he said. Meanwhile, Cromwell Police believe the incident was linked to the burglary of an Inniscort St house on the same night, where a child’s scooter and an Avanti mountainbike were taken. As well as Mr Dickson’s van being stolen, a white Toyota Corona was also taken for a joyride and damaged before being abandoned in the pine plantation on Bannockburn Rd. Anyone with any information about the incidents are urged to contact Cromwell Police, or anonymously on the Crimestoppers line 0800 555 111.
Wrecked: The white Ford Transit wheelchair van which was stolen on the night of June 20 and left on Rogers St.