Stolen wheelchair returned to limbless French athlete
Stolen five days ago, the wheelchair of a handicapped sportsman who gained notoriety for swimming across the English Channel in 2010 was returned to its owner after he made a public plea to get it back.
A quadruple amputee in France who won fame in 2010 for swimming across the English Channel was reunited with his stolen wheelchair on Monday evening, after an impassioned public plea for its return.
Philippe Croizon, 45, announced on Twitter that the wheelchair – a custom-built, all terrain vehicle worth more than 20,000 euros – had been found abandoned in a parking lot.
“After he saw the story on TF1 [news broadcast] a man called me on the telephone…” Croizon said. “Thank you to the Internet users, you were incredible… thank you to the medias. Thank you to the police.”
The wheelchair was stolen along with the trailer it was being stored in on Thursday night in France’s northwestern Seine-Maritime department.
The driver of a bus for handicapped persons found it on Friday morning. Not knowing who it belonged to, the unnamed driver put it in safe-keeping until he saw a news report about the theft, BFM television reported on its website.
Earlier in the day, Croizon emplored the thieves to return the machine, saying it took him over a year to raise the funds necessary for its purchase.
“Keep the trailer, just return the wheelchair,” the star disabled swimmer had urged via numerous interviews in the French media on Monday.
“It’s a beautiful summer story, that will restore confidence and hope to all handicapped people,” Croizon said after his wheelchair was returned.