LOS ANGELES (CBSLA)  —  A Los Angeles man is making a desperate plea to get his stolen motorized wheelchair back.

Dyral Smith says the chair was stolen Monday night from in front of the Alta Vista Gardens Retirement Home, the assisted living facility he calls home.

Smith told CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Laurie Perez that he’s hoping one of our viewers will recognize the men captured by security video or that someone may have bumped into them late Monday evening.

The victim says the 800 block of North  Alta Vista Boulevard is a nice, quiet place.

He’s hoping someone on this block — maybe even the thieves, will help him get the chair back.

Smith still can’t believe someone stole his wheelchair in the first place.

“That’s like taking somebody’s crutches when both their legs are broken,” he says.

Security video shows two men walking down the street, around 9 p.m. Monday, when one of them jumps onto the wheelchair and drives off,

“I had a ride to school because I was running late so I had my machine parked on the sidewalk,” Smith says, “I had one of my neighbors take it inside and he went to use the bathroom, came back out and it was gone. You know, wasn’t even five minutes and it disappeared.”

Smith’s mobility is limited after three strokes and four heart attacks in the last 18 years. But even at 60 years of age, he’s a full time student with every intention of graduating and getting a job.

The motorized wheelchair isn’t just his way of getting around, it’s his independence.

Perez asks, “You use that wheelchair…?” and he quickly finishes her question.
“For everything,” Smith says, “It’s my lifeline to get around. I don’t give up, I see a lot of people just lay there and die, I refuse to just sit back and die, I keep going.”

Smith’s caretakers got him the wheelchair and it was top of the line. He says his insurance won’t buy him another one nearly as durable or powerful.

And at $3,700 he can’t buy him one himself — he’s hoping the thieves have a change of heart, or find some, and return the chair.

“I want my wheelchair back,” Smith says.

If you know something about the whereabouts of the wheelchair, or the men in the video, you can call the Los Angeles Police Department. You can also call the Alta Vista Gardens retirement home directly.

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