Searchers come up empty-handed after looking for stolen wheelchair

Community helps look for stolen wheelchair.

BOISE - It's a crime that's both outrageous and baffling.

A customized wheelchair was stolen at Boise State's football game on Friday night.

It is baffling because who would do such a thing and why?

The wheelchair belongs to Nathan Ogden, a local motivational speaker who we've featured on our newscasts for his efforts to provide wheelchairs for people in developing countries.

Many of our viewers wanted to help find the wheelchair, and on Monday night that's exactly what the community did. Nathan and his wife, Heather, organized a search to find his missing wheelchair.

"I was just overcome with emotion of just how much they would step up and help us," said Heather, Nathan's wife.

Around 150 to 200 people came out to search for Nathan's wheelchair. 

MORE: Meridian man's wheelchair stolen during Boise State game

"We're looking in all the nooks and crannies to see if they got rid of it," said Richard Smith, a friend of Nathan's.

"We're looking up in the trees," said Stephanie Smith, another family friend. "We're super hopeful that they didn't throw it into the river but we're looking under the brush, just where somebody might stash it."

"We're gonna search through the bushes and the dumpsters and the any dark place out there along the Greenbelt," said Nathan.

Nathan and Heather said Monday night's search will be the last search before they have to turn their focus to raising money to buy him a new wheelchair altogether. 

"As the days have gone on we've had to use other chairs that we've had and his pain levels are a lot higher," said Heather. "We just thought we have to give it one more effort."

Boise police are investigating. They are following leads from multiple witnesses who saw the wheelchair outside of the stadium. Days later there is still no sign of it. 

"We found some other things unfortunately, like bikes and footballs, but no wheelchair yet," said Katie Wells.

Boise State officials confirmed there are no security cameras in Albertsons Stadium, so there is no surveillance video. But the university is taking the issue seriously.

A spokesperson said staff and resident hall leaders have been notified and are keeping an eye out for the wheelchair. BSU’s head of public safety is also working closely with the Ogden family. 

"BSU has been phenomenal in helping us out with the security,” said Heather, “BPD has been so great in helping us out and we just want to find the wheelchair. It's so much easier if we find the wheelchair than buy a new one."

The university says if the wheelchair doesn't turn up they will buy Nathan a new one. Meanwhile, the Ogdens are thankful to the entire community for all of the support. 

"We love the community here,” said Nathan. “I mean it's been amazing. BSU, the security, the police, everybody has been all over this and wanting to help and support and to give any way that they can, I thought this is the perfect opportunity to allow them to come be a part of it."

Unfortunately, Nathan told KTVB that the wheelchair did not turn up in Monday's search. There is a GoFundMe page set up to help pay for a new custom wheelchair, which costs around $5,000. 

Nathan and Heather say all excess money donated with go to the Chair the Hope foundation. 

 

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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