UPDATE: Donation replaces stolen scooter for Abbotsford Korean War vet

Mobility aid stolen from 83-year-old veteran just days before Remembrance Day

Bert Wiebe tries out his new scooter

The community has rallied in support of Korean War veteran Bert Wiebe, whose mobility scooter was stolen from him just days before Remembrance Day.

Four days after a con man made off with his scooter, Wiebe, 83, received a set of new wheels Tuesday that were donated by a local company.

Wiebe served for more than a decade in the Canadian Forces, and the morning of the theft had spoken to The News about his life in the military, including the battle for Hill 355 in Korea.

Prior to the interview, Bert Wiebe met a man who called himself ‘Kevin,’ who said he could fix a broken headlight on his scooter. When he returned to the Legion, Kevin was waiting for the decorated veteran.

Wiebe retrieved the key for the man, and left to have a cigarette while the man did the work he had promised. When Wiebe returned, the scooter and the man named Kevin were gone.

“I was very, very upset,” said Wiebe, who can only walk a block with the help of a walker.

Margaret Vines, the Royal Canadian Legion’s ways and means officer, said the thief betrayed the trust of a man who desperately needs his scooter.

“He’s a vet, he’s disabled and he needs to have something to get around and have something of a social life,” Vines said. “I think it’s a pretty low thing to do to anybody.”

Abbotsford Police Const. Paul Walker commented, “You have a veteran who’s given a lot to our country and uses a scooter for mobility purposes, and to have someone taking advantage of that is pretty deplorable.”

But hours after the theft was made public, the APD was flooded with calls by people from around the province who wanted to help.

“The public has been fantastic,” said John Sorensen, the Legion’s Sergeant-At-Arms.

By this afternoon, Wiebe received a brand-new scooter donated by Chris Kehler and Coast Bathing Solutions.

 

 

“I’m overwhelmed. I’m very grateful,” said Wiebe, adding that he was glad to live in such a generous community.

Kehler said his company, which makes walk-in bathtubs for people with mobility impairments, had an extra scooter in its inventory. As soon as he heard of Wiebe’s predicament, he and the staff decided to donate the device.

“I could tell just from the smile on his face that it meant a lot,” said Kehler.It’s something that he needs to be able to get around on a daily basis. It’s not a want, it’s a need.”

Police have received images of a man they suspect is “Kevin” examining a scooter outside the Legion, provided by a nearby business’ security camera.

“We’re appealing to the public for leads on him,” said Walker. “We’d like to identify Kevin, speak with him, and hopefully it’ll lead to an arrest at some point for this stolen scooter.”

The con man is described as 5’8”, of medium build with short brown hair. He may be in his 40s or late 30s.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Abbotsford Police at 604-859-5225, text police at 222973 or call Crime Stoppers at or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Below: an image from a security camera beside the Legion, shortly before the theft. Police suspect the pictured man may have stolen Wiebe’s scooter.

 

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