GARDAI at Mayorstone are investigating the theft of a wheelchair from a popular Thomondgate teenager at the weekend.
Shane Dundon, 16, has been housebound and unable to go to school since Sunday while his family try to get a replacement.
His mother Teresa said that what remained of his wheelchair had been found smashed to pieces at Hartigan’s Villas in Moyross the following day.
The wheels had been removed, Teresa believes, in order to fit them on a sulky.
What made the theft all the worse, according to Teresa, was that the gang of eight youths “knew very well” who Shane was and how he relied upon his wheelchair to live as indepenently as he can in spite of his cerebral palsy.
“He is like any other teenager. He goes to St Nessan’s, he goes to music lessons. He is out all the time and enjoys to keep a busy schedule. But this is really after bringing him down. He has been inside in his room for the last three days,” she said.
Shane had been enjoying the X-Factor with his family on Sunday night and the Dundons only discovered the wheelchair had been stolen when the show ended and it was time to bring it in for the night.
Teresa explained that Shane would leave the wheelchair outside the front porch until it is time to lock up at night. Her son liked “to come and go like any other teenager” but the Dundons home is not wheelchair accessible and there are steps leading up to the front door.
“What young fella of 16 should have to crawl in and out of his home on his hands and knees? We were promised by the council when we moved in three years ago that we would have wheelchair access. I told them I wasn’t going to move in until Shane could get in and they said not to worry that it would be sorted out in six months,” Teresa said.
She was only told this year to apply in writing for a grant but was informed in May that resources and the high number of applications didn’t allow for the works to be carried out this year.
When the Dundons discovered the theft at around 10pm, Shane’s older sister Nicole immediately got on Facebook to appeal for its return.
“She got a reply back straightaway that these lads had been seen outside Freda’s chip shop on the Kileely Road, stopping traffic with it. Apparently they thought it was very funny. They had plenty of time to give it back because they knew Shane was looking for it. But they chose to bust it up instead, I’m told because they wanted the wheels for a sulky whatever that is,” said Teresa.
“These lads would be in their early teens and a couple as young as 12. They are not from Thomondgate or Kileely. I suppose they come down here stealing because they know they wouldn’t get away with it in Moyross.”
Anyone with information can contact Mayorstone garda station at (061) 456980.