James Ivery, a disabled veteran, is left without his wheelchair-accessible van after someone stole it from his apartment complex's parking lot. (WRDW-TV / July 3, 2012)
News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, July 3, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It is his only means of transportation, but an Augusta man says a thief needed his van more. Now, he's hoping Richmond County deputies and you can help him find it.
The missing van has left him stranded without any means to get around, but it's not just any van. It's wheelchair accessible and belongs to a disabled veteran.
"I was hurt, I was real hurt that somebody would come by and steal it," said James Ivery as he stared at the empty parking space where his van used to sit. "I look out the window, and I don't see it, and I guess you can sum that up as sentimental."
On Monday morning, he came outside of his Ervin Towers apartment to find his van missing and glass shattered on the ground.
"I got up and I saw the glass and I knew then that my van had been stolen," he said. "I mean I'm pissed, I'm angry, and there's nothing I can do about it."
The van, a blue 1986 Chevy G20, has a wheelchair ramp on the back to help Ivery get to doctor appointments and the grocery store.
"That van is not something you wanna steal and go joyriding in because it stands out. It's like one of a kind," he said.
Now all he has left is his motorized wheelchair.
"Just like now, I had to go to the store Kroger and get some food," he said. "It was hot, but I knew I had to go; I couldn't find nobody else to do it for me or help me, and I couldn't afford to get a taxi."
He says losing the van takes away his independence.
"I'm more home bound. I can't do what I wanna do. I don't have that freedom now that I had when I had the van and that makes me angry."
Especially because he can't afford to get a new one.
"I depended on it, and I took care of it because I knew I couldn't afford to get another one," he said.
Now he's making a plea to the people who took it saying, "if they got a heart in them, please bring my van back because I need it."
The van is a faded blue 1986 Chevy G20 with Georgia tags and license plate number BDJ6593. If you have any information, call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.