ELIZABETH - The mother of a 5-year-old boy with a disability is pleading for the return of her son's stolen wheelchair.
Andrew Pacheco was born with a rare developmental disorder that makes him unable to walk and talk. He uses a specialized wheelchair and leg braces to get around and to go to school.
"I went out to my vehicle to grab his wheelchair for school," says Andrew's mother, Keeley Pacheco. "I parked it out on my driveway as I was going back upstairs to get [Andrew]. I came back down to meet the bus and the stroller was gone out of our driveway."
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Andrew is not able to sit in a normal seat, so his wheelchair is how he rides the bus and sits at school. His mom says he will have to miss a few days of school until a replacement or loaner wheelchair can be found.
Pacheco believes the person who stole her son's wheelchair and leg braces did so to sell them for scrap metal. She says that the family cannot afford to buy a new one, so they hope the people responsible will step forward and give them back.
"You stole my child's day. You stole my child's education and you stole his way of getting around. That's not fair to him," says Pacheco.
The family says the wheelchair and leg braces cost more than $3,000.
UPDATE: News 12 New Jersey has learned that the company that made the wheelchair will be donating a free chair to the Pacheco family.