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Hospice patient's electric scooter stolen from St. Paul yard

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG
  • Star Tribune
  • October 3, 2012 - 11:21 PM

George Hensley relied on his electric scooter daily to get him from his Midway apartment in St. Paul to the nearby SuperAmerica, to Dunn Brothers for a cup of coffee and for walks with his longtime girlfriend and their hulking Rottweiler, Teennee.

But when Hensley and his girlfriend, Heidi Johnson, returned home Tuesday afternoon after lunch and shopping, the scooter -- usually parked on the boulevard for easy access -- was gone.

Police said someone stole it between 1:30 and 3 p.m. from the 700 block of Curfew Street. The donated scooter would cost about $1,700 to replace, a sum Johnson said they can't afford to pay.

Hensley, 45, is crushed, she said. "They took away his legs. He can't just go for a walk with me and the dog."

A brain tumor was found in Hensley in February 2011 and he underwent chemotherapy and radiation, his mobility slowly slipping away. A serious bout of pneumonia left him able to get around only in a wheelchair. Doctors told him he had only six weeks to live.

But Hensley kept on living.

His hospice nurse and her father gave him the scooter this spring, and it opened up a new world. Hensley, who can walk only short distances before becoming fatigued, didn't have to rely on Johnson to push him around.

With winter approaching and Hensley's prognosis unclear, Johnson is upset he's lost his ability to live to his fullest.

The scooter was being charged with an extension cord when it was taken. They kept it parked outside because they could not haul it upstairs to their apartment.

"I just don't see how anyone can do that," Johnson said. "In 16 years, nothing's ever been taken out of this yard. That was pretty cold."

Johnson said whoever took it probably had help. The scooter weighs between 250 and 300 pounds and has two batteries, each the size of a car battery.

The scooter was described as a blue, older model Pride brand with three wheels and a gray seat.

Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos said it did not have a serial number.

Police have no suspect descriptions. Anyone with information should call police at 651-291-1111.

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib

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