Upper West Side

Accused Thief Arrested for Stealing Wheelchair From 96-Year-Old Man in NYC

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Police in New York City have arrested a person suspected of stealing a 96-year-old man's electric wheelchair.

Erich Plan rode his chair to his dermatologist's office Tuesday morning but had to leave it outside due to steps that made the front door inaccessible. He left two hours later to find someone had snatched up the wheelchair.

Video released by the NYPD on Friday showed the suspect rolling off with the scooter. The suspect, now identified as 45-year-old Torie Branch, was arrested in the Bronx late Friday after police got an anonymous tip.

Branch is facing charges of grand larceny and possession of stolen property. Attorney information for the Bronx man was not immediately available.

Police have not yet recovered the stolen scooter, valued at $2,500.

Plan said he's shocked someone would do such a thing.

"The things that upset me the most is that a wheelchair indicates that there is a handicapped person and a person stealing something like that, it may cause a lot of problems to the handicapped person," he said.

Plan doesn't have harsh words, but he wants the suspect to think about the impact stealing the wheelchair has on a person with a disability.

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