ABC13 viewer finds stolen wheelchair, returns it to athlete

July 9, 2013 3:27:58 AM PDT
It didn't take long for Houstonians to show their generosity and offer to help athlete Zack Ruhl replace his stolen custom sport wheelchair. But in the end, he got exactly what he wanted -- the same wheelchair that was stolen from him over the weekend.

The 23-year-old and his mother had saved up the $3,500 to buy the custom sport wheelchair so he could participate in wheelchair sports. On Saturday, someone stole it from his truck, which was parked outside a friend's home.

"Searched the neighborhood, searched the apartments. I went by it and I didn't find a chair," said Zach.

The theft couldn't have come at a worse time. It had compromised Zach's chance to participate in the National Wheelchair Softball Tournament in Chicago.

"If somebody has it, I really would appreciate if they returned it," Ruhl pleaded earlier Monday.

Immediately after Eyewitness News reported about the theft, generous Houstonians flooded ABC13 with phone calls and emails offering to help.

Then ABC13 viewers Mike and Amanda Lewellen spotted Zach's wheelchair in the same area it was stolen while going for a motorcycle ride.

"That wasn't something that somebody would throw away, that it must have been lost or stolen," Amanda said.

"I saw it and I knew that's not something somebody would throw away," Mike said. "I know they got to be expensive so I picked it up and did everything I could to get it back to who it belonged to."

The Lewellens tracked down Zuhl's address and returned the chair to the athlete.

"For these people to find it, that's God's blessing to us because our whole church has been praying," Zach's mother, Cheryl Corbello, said.

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