ShareThis Page
News

Thief steals car from handicapped man

| Friday, May 4, 2012, 9:24 a.m.

Mike McFadden says he's angry and frustrated after having his car stolen for the second time in six months.

The Westmoreland County man had just finished his shift as a manager at the McDonald's on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in New Stanton early Friday when he pulled into the nearby Sunoco A-Plus convenience store in New Stanton at about 1 a.m. to get some gas for his 1996 Dodge Intrepid.

"I went inside, prepaid, pumped $7 worth of gas into the car, cleaned off my windows and went back around to my car, unlocked my car door and was ready to get into it," said McFadden, 21, of Madison.

He was then approached by a man who asked for directions.

"He was walking over from (the nearby bar), asking me for directions to (Interstate) 70," McFadden said. "I think nothing of it. I tried to give him the directions and he came up closer and closer and put an object in my lower back and said it was a gun and he wanted my car keys. I was trying to tell him, 'Don't take my car,' because of the hand controls."

McFadden needs hand controls in his vehicle because he is afflicted with spina bifida, a birth defect of the spine. He can't use his feet when he drives. He can walk on his own a little, but uses crutches.

As the suspect pulled away in the car, McFadden was holding onto the drivers' side door.

"I was still holding onto the door with my hand and he took off," McFadden said. "He started pulling away with me hanging on. I got dragged probably about 20 feet."

McFadden, who received scratches and bruises, said he has not recovered from his experience on Dec. 20 when his car was stolen from the same station.

As he paid for his gas, he left the engine running. A male jumped in his 1998 Ford Taurus and took off. The vehicle was not recovered.

The man who stole his Intrepid crashed it on the turnpike near the Irwin interchange. Damage to the vehicle was extensive and the thief fled before troopers arrived.

McFadden said it may take him some time to get another specially equipped vehicle. He said it costs about $1,200 to install the hand controls.

His mother, Donna McFadden, said her son's disability makes him an easy target.

"He's handicapped, but he doesn't let that stop him from doing anything. He works hard and he goes to school full time. Someone like (the thief) who probably isn't doing anything is out there ripping people off."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me