A wheelchair accessible van which was stolen from a gated apartment complex in metro Atlanta was recovered Wednesday.

A Decatur family used that van to transport their severely handicapped loved one to therapy and doctor’s appointments.

“We came out, like we do every day, to take Jordyn for some time outside, and my husband noticed it wasn’t there,” said Ruth Batchelor, Jordyn’s mom.

Batchelor said they always park it in the same spot in the Decatur Crossing apartment complex.

Thieves steal wheelchair-accessible van from handicapped Decatur woman

“We use the van to get her to doctor’s appointments, outpatient therapy appointments, to go to the Botanical Gardens, or to a park, just to get her out, and give her the best quality of life that we can give her,” Batchelor added.

23-year-old Jordyn Engelberg was in a car wreck five years ago and sustained a traumatic brain injury.

“She’s in what’s considered a minimally conscience state, so she doesn’t walk, talk, or eat by herself,” Batchelor said.

Engelberg requires 24/7 care and this van is their lifeline.

“We’re tethered to this apartment without the use of that van,” added Batchelor.

Batchelor said an old van can run anywhere from $6,000 to more than $20,000.

“It’s not just the cost of the vehicle, the lift kits alone to put in to adapt a vehicle are conservatively $15,000,” said Batchelor, “Caring for a fully dependent loved one, the money is tied up elsewhere.”

After posting about the stolen van on social media, a neighbor about ½ mile away in the Sycamore Ridge Neighborhood shared his surveillance footage.

His camera captured what appears to be Jordyn’s van at 3:30 Sunday morning, moments before a smash and grab at his next-door neighbor’s.

“I have a lot of faith in humanity, and I still do, there are broken people in humanity that would do something like this,” Batchelor said, “It’s infuriating…And for what? For a joy ride? For scrap metal? What they’re going to get out of the van isn’t anything for what it is for us.”

The Decatur Crossing apartment complex reviewed surveillance footage to help the family find the thieves.

Dekalb County Police reported that officers had recovered the van, and it will be returned to the family.  

 

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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