PARK FOREST (CBS) — Imagine this: Your car is stolen, it’s later found, but you have to pay big to get it back.
That’s exactly what happened to a man in the south suburbs.
And what makes it so bad is that he is disabled and his van is specially equipped.
So, does the story bother you? CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports it also bothered one woman, who decided to help.
For 10 days, twice a day, Randy Iliff had been using his motorized wheelchair to make the nearly three-mile trip between his Park Forest home and the Metra station in Richton Park, where he commutes to his Loop job.
He had to travel the dark streets in his chair because on Oct. 19 — Iliff’s 50th birthday — his Chevy conversion van with specially built ramps for his wheelchair was stolen. After the evening commute, he went to the handicapped lot and the van was gone.
The vehicle was “18 years old, not of any value to anybody else, but a value to me,” Iliff said.
On Wednesday night, Iliff got an anonymous phone call telling him his van could be found at 151st and Lexington in Harvey. Police located the stolen van and Iliff got it back Thursday. But it had been trashed. The wooden ramp assembly for his wheelchair was destroyed, the steering column was damaged, and the fold-down rear seat had been stolen.
“If they’d just left everything alone, just parked it someplace, I would have come and got it. But they trashed it,” Iliff said.
To add insult to injury, he was charged $290 in towing and impound fees.
Until, that is, a Good Samaritan stepped in. Cynthia Kraus heard about his plight on WBBM Newsradio 780 and came up with the money.
“I can’t believe this happened,” she says. “He’s been through enough already.”
Kraus says she wants Iliff to know “there’s more good than bad in the world.”
Iliff says he is very grateful.