The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 19, 2009

Trike for disabled child stolen

Seven-year-old's trike was therapy

MANKATO — Kari Fletcher suspects a 20-something guy with a couple too many beers in his belly is keeping her daughter from enjoying the last few days of fall on her bright yellow trike.

That’s what happened last time Anna’s trike disappeared: Someone on his way home from the bars took it for a ride.

The 7-year-old was lucky that time. Another guy a few blocks away found her special trike with the big rubber tires. He recognized it from passing Anna many times as she whizzed up and down her sidewalk on North Fifth Street, and he returned it to the grateful girl.

Kari Fletcher is hoping her daughter has a good Samaritan out there this time, too.

“It’s the only trike she can ride on her own,” Fletcher said Monday. “She goes back and forth hundreds of times on our sidewalk out front. She just loves it.

“I don’t think there’s anyone else in town with a trike like that. So, if people see one, it’s probably her trike.”

Anna has a developmental disability. She rides the trike for fun, but it’s also a valuable therapy tool that helps her build her central muscle system and improve balance problems.

“I used to ride it a lot,” Anna said. “I can stand on the back. I can ride one handed.”

Kari Fletcher said it’s important for the family to get the trike back because they can’t afford to buy another one. They had to get a grant to buy the $379 Rhino trike and it’s $79 special back rest.

After it was stolen the first time, the Fletchers started making sure the trike was put away in their garage every night. But everyone was sick last week and they made the mistake of just putting the trike on their porch at 416 N. Fifth St. Thursday night. It was gone Friday morning.

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