Outpouring of Community Support and Donations

December 5, 2008

Los Angeles:  Earlier today, the Los Angeles Police Department detectives asked for the public’s assistance in locating a stolen wheelchair belonging to an individual with cerebral palsy, as well as stolen wheelchair wheels belonging to an additional victim who is paralyzed.  

The wheelchair and wheelchair parts were inside the victims’ vehicles when the vehicles were taken from a discount store parking lot in the City of Rosemead.  When the vehicles where abandoned in Los Angeles, the thieves had taken, not only the high-end chrome wheels, but also the wheelchair and wheelchair parts.

Melanie Banda’s wheelchair is custom made to meet her specific medical needs and is therefore, extremely valuable to her (about $7000), but nearly worthless to the thieves or anyone else.  In the case of Miguel Rincon, his three spare wheelchair wheels are worth about $350 each.  Miguel was paralyzed when he was shot by robbery suspects several years ago.   

‘Joni and Friends,’ a highly respected non-profit faith-based wheelchair ministry has graciously agreed to manage the contributions for both victims.

Those who wish to make contributions may send a check payable to:

Joni and Friends MinistriesC/O Melanie Banda and Miguel RinconP.O. Box 3333 Agoura Hills, CA  91376-3333

Please designate if you’re contributing your funds to Melanie Banda or Miguel Rincon.

You may also visit Joni and Friends website at  www.joniandfriends.org, or by telephone 818-707-5664.  

For additional information, please contact  Media Relations Section at 213-485-3586.
Anyone with information regarding the thefts is asked to call Detectives Zavala or Woods at LAPD Commercial Crimes Division, 213-485-2509.  After-hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247).  Callers may also text “CRIMES” with a cell phone or log on to www.lapdonline.org and click on Web Tips.  When using a cell phone, messages should always begin with “LAPD.” All calls and contacts are anonymous.