Penticton pawnshop helps recover stolen wheelchair

Terry Sundvhall thanks Mike Schyrbiak of Mike
Terry Sundvhall thanks Mike Schyrbiak of Mike's Pawnbrokers for his help in getting her motorized wheelchair returned after it was stolen while she was visiting a friend. The Penticton woman suffers from several disabilities and the chair is critical to her mobility.
— image credit: Mark Brett/Western News

Getting a set wheels means freedom for most, but for Terry Sundvhall it’s her whole world.

And in a blink of an eye her world was taken from her.

The recent resident to Penticton was visiting a family member on Municipal Street on Sept. 11 when her motorized wheelchair was snatched from the back lane driveway. Sundvhall, who suffers from multiple disabilities and can barely walk on her own, still shakes at the thought of it. But that is quickly trumped by tears of thanks for the man who gave her life and freedom back to her.

“Her sister had called asking if I had taken in any wheelchairs, and it just so happened that a few days after someone phoned asking if I bought scooters or wheelchairs,” said Mike Schyrbiak, owner of Mike’s Pawnbrokers located on Main Street.

The businessman phoned RCMP to let them know that a possible stolen wheelchair was coming to his premise, and sure enough in came a few people with the chair that resembled the stolen one described to him by Sundvhall’s sister Kelly Wheeler.

Once again Schyrbiak phoned RCMP and told the thieves that he was keeping the chair and he knew it was stolen from Municipal Avenue.

“I told them I would hold onto it until the RCMP came and they were welcome to stick around. They decided to leave,” said Schyrbiak.

Unfortunately for Sundvhall, this is not the first time she has been the victim of a crime. The petite woman said she once was beaten up while living in another community and tossed from her wheelchair.

The confrontation broke her not only emotionally and physically, but left her without transportation. She said it took her a long time to get a new motorized wheelchair, making it even more disheartening when it was stolen in Penticton.

“I was so relieved when I heard it was found. I had been crying for two days that it was gone and to hear someone found it, I just didn’t know there was any good people left anymore,” said Sundvhall.

Schyrbiak wouldn’t accept a reward, so instead Sundvhall and her family have vowed to shop in his store when they can.

RCMP said they are still investigating the matter for suspects.


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