Stolen wheelchair returned after being found in park - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Stolen wheelchair returned after being found in park

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A happy ending to a story that made national headlines last week.

U.S. Paralympian Erik Hightower got his racing chair back after it was stolen last week in Ohio.

Hightower said he got his chair back thanks to social media.

The thief abandoned the racing chair at a park about 10 miles from where it was stolen. A park maintenance worker saw the chair and left it there for a few days before taking it back to their warehouse. It was then that another coworker remembered seeing something about the racing chair on social media.

Erik Hightower was reunited with his custom built racing chair after it was stolen in late June.

"It's a big relief to have it back," said Hightower.

Erik's mom was in Ohio visiting family, she picked up the chair and flew it back to the valley Tuesday.

"After about 3-4 days of not hearing anything I just figured it was gone, I was never going to see it again," he said.

News of Erik's chair being stolen spread fast. Erik made a public plea asking the thief to return his chair, no questions asked.

A week later the chair was left at a park along with Erik's USA bag with one of his medals still inside.

"It's the gold medal that I got," he said.

When park workers found Erik's chair they saw the name Hightower on it and remembered hearing something about the stolen racing chair in the news and on social media so they googled his name.

"Absolutely that's how it ultimately got back, because somebody had recognized the name, googled it, saw the media reports, and they got on Facebook and messaged Erik," said Deb Hightower.

"I'm just glad that whoever had it, had a change of heart. And they just decided to leave it somewhere where it would be found so I can have it back and continue doing what I love," said Erik Hightower.
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