Stolen wheelchairs returned to disabled Tacoma woman

TACOMA, Wash. -- The heartless thieves who stole a disabled Tacoma woman's van and expensive wheelchairs also robbed her of her independence, but a pair of good Samaritans are now giving the woman a reason to be thankful this holiday season.

Michelle Van Cise suffers from lupus and fibromyalgia, which causes her legs to tire from pain and inflammation. On Tuesday, someone stole her van while it was parked in an alley near her home. She said the van itself wasn't worth much, but the wheelchairs inside were.

"I've had people come in and just rob me and take everything and now they took the van, but they took the Jazzys (wheelchairs) and those are my legs," she said.

The Jazzy wheelchair gave her the freedom to go to the beach, the grocery store, to walk her dogs.

She reached out to Medicare, hoping for help replacing her $10,000 scooter. Her ex-husband's was stolen from the van, too. Scraping by on Social Security, Van Cise is trying to make extra money beading jewelry.

Just when it looked liked she'd never get the chairs back, a Tacoma couple who had learned of Van Cise's trouble watching KOMO News found the chairs at an abandoned lot in Tacoma.

The couple contacted Tacoma police, who returned the chairs to Van Cise on Wednesday night.

"This is it. This is my throne," Van Cise said.