Cops: Teens arrested for stealing handicapped accessible van

Evan Lambert reports

- Tampa Police say two teens are under arrest for the theft of a handicapped-accessible van which belonged to a man living with ALS.

The theft happened last Thursday on East Eskimo Street, according to police, when Margarita Chapman dropped her keys while she was unloading groceries. The next morning, the modified Chevy Uplander van was gone.

It had been designed so that she could transport her husband Eric, who is paralyzed as a result of ALS.

Later that day, police say the teens, 14 and 15, were spotted trying to move the car from where it was being stored nearby. Police found the car there and both teens have been arrested. One teen had already been picked up on an unrelated vehicle theft.

According to police both teens have long criminal records.

"It's concerning that they're so young and they have these long criminal histories. We're hoping they'll change this and maybe this will wake them up and realize there's gonna be impacts on their life," said Tampa Police spokesman Eddy Durkin.

Police say the thieves damaged the van, while they took it on a joyride. Since last week the community has raised enough money to help pay for Chapman's deductible to get the car fixed by her insurance.

Chapman says she's grateful the teens are being held accountable, but she's saddened by their young age and criminal histories.

"It's sad that they're so young and this is what they're doing with their life," said Chapman.

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