WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - Thirty-six-year-old Melissa Weiss has cerebral palsy. She can walk, but not very far.
"I was born prematurely and I got meningitis, which the oxygen deprivation resulted in CP," said Weiss.
For the past two years, it's been no problem to walk up the stairs from her basement condo to get to her motorized wheelchair that she parks outside. That is, until Wednesday evening, May 30th.
"He looked and said, 'Honey, your chair is gone!'"
Her husband noticed the empty space under a porch where her chair should have been.
"I was like, OK. I'll call the police. And then I thought, we should have locked it. And then, I thought who steals a wheelchair? What do you need it for?"
Melissa was hoping that whoever took it was somebody who needed it. But she's not sure that's the case because they left the charger, and they won't get very far without it.
Her chair is made by Mobility Solutions in Silver Spring and has stickers on it with the Mobility Solutions name. It's dark red and light gray, with black armrests and gray wheels. It cost $5,600.
"We used to use a bike lock. But it's really difficult because I only have one hand that works well," said Weiss.
The chair has allowed Melissa to work, and even go to a rally on the National Mall. There's a YouTube video of her taking part in a wheel chair dance last year at Jon Stewart's Rally to Stop the Insanity.
"It really changed my life. I don't even think about how much I need it, until it's not here," said Weiss.
Her neighbors are disgusted with the theft...and are hoping who ever took it will bring it back quickly.
"I think it's tragic and sad I can't believe how low people can stoop. I mean ... Who steals a wheelchair? Is there a big secondary black market for people who steal wheelchairs?" Neighbor Anne Stolen remarked.
Melissa and her husband Paul Weiss say they care more about getting the chair back then catching the thief. Anyone with information is asked to call The Metropolitan Police.
Melissa Weiss used to teach English at Edison High in Fairfax County. She recently received a disability designation, but still wants to find a part time job to keep busy.