Thieves damage quadriplegic man's handicap-accessible van, leaving him without working vehicle

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Someone came very close to stealing -- of all things -- a handicapped van. And now it's so damaged, the quadriplegic man who uses it can't even get it started. (KTRK)

You can see the damage the bad guys did to the lock on Ronnie Rubit's driver side door when they broke in. On the inside, the ignition is stripped. And he is stranded.

"Once upon a time, even criminals had a code of ethics. They wouldn't rob old people, and they wouldn't rob crippled people. But nothing stops them now," Rubit said.

Rubit has been paralyzed since a football injury at Lamar University 38 years ago. He discovered he'd been targeted Sunday morning on the way out the door to go to church.

"Many people were gathered to hear me speak because this was my first time speaking since my surgery for my neck in May. So they wanted to hear about my progress and talk about my faith," he said.

Rubit and Sandra Lee have been friends for years. She often drives him around on weekends. She also drives him to doctor's appointments in Kingwood.

"He's trying to manage and make do with the income the government provides, then you gotta endure somebody trying to make life even harder by trying steal the van," Lee said.

As Rubit showed us, the van is equipped with a wheelchair lift to get him in and out. The thieves didn't touch that.

"They were amateurs, I believe. Luckily I still have my van, but several hundred dollars worth of damage was done to the ignition and the door," he said.

Rubit says he was mad at first, but now he's focused on finding a way to get back on the road, and hoping whoever did this to him finds his or her way too.

"I would tell that person you need to stop and you need to change your life," Rubit said.

Someone donated this van to Rubit in 2007. He says he's just glad the thieves didn't get away with his most prized possession. He's hoping someone will help him get back on the road.
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