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Disabled Man Claims He Was Wrongly Evicted, Refuses To Go To Shelter

Mike Krauser Mike Krauser
Mike Krauser has been a reporter, anchor, producer, writer, managing...
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Surrounded by belongings removed from his Edgewater apartment, James Roberts is placed on a stretcher by paramedics, after he claims he was wrongly accused of drugs and prostitution, and evicted from his apartment. (Credit: Mike Krauser/WBBM)

Surrounded by belongings removed from his Edgewater apartment, James Roberts is placed on a stretcher by paramedics, after he claims he was wrongly accused of drugs and prostitution, and evicted from his apartment. (Credit: Mike Krauser/WBBM)

CHICAGO (CBS) – A disabled man who was evicted from his Edgewater apartment – over what he said was a simple misunderstanding – spent 24 hours in the cold, refusing to go to a shelter.

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports 64-year-old James Roberts sat in his wheelchair on a sidewalk at Broadway and Ardmore Avenue. He was freezing, but was refusing to leave behind the belongings stacked around him.

“People were walking up, trying to take my property,” he said. “Right now, I’m trying to get somebody to put it in storage.”

Roberts described himself as a street minister.

“I have a street ministry. I give out bibles … to the homeless,” he said.

He’s been living off his Social Security benefits. A motorcycle crash in college took both his legs.

He said he allowed some people from the street to stay at his apartment, and was wrongly accused of drugs and prostitution. For that, he was evicted.

His fiancée, Kathy, said “I cannot believe this is happening here in America.”

Neighbors have been bringing him food and hot drinks.

“I’ve really been blessed; even though I feel like I’m being tested,” he said. “People have been nice, they’ve been bringing me coffee. Even the police officer, she came and she went to a 7-Eleven, and brought us tea.”

Friday morning, Roberts fell out of his wheelchair, and was taken away in an ambulance, while his fiancée stayed behind to guard his possessions.