Lifeline van stolen from woman with MS


A  St. Albert woman is house-bound after the specialized van that transported her and her wheelchair was stolen.

Maureen Bedry is heartbroken and depressed after her mobility van was stolen from her Braeside driveway last weekend.

The vehicle is a navy blue 2005 Chrysler Town and Country with Alberta licence plate EXE 098. The wheelchair ramp extends out of the passenger’s side sliding door.

“I just sit here watching television. The fellow that took the van … I’m very upset with him,” she said from her Burnham Avenue home.

WHEELCHAIR VAN – A navy blue 2005 Chrysler Town and Country with Alberta licence plate EXE 098 was stolen from a Braeside driveway.The wheelchair ramp extends out of the passenger’s side sliding door.

The 73-year-old has had multiple sclerosis for more than three decades, progressing from her simply needing a walker to railings throughout her house to needing a wheelchair.

By the year 2000, it had gotten “to the point where she could not get out of it,” said Brian Bedry, her husband.

A few years after that, they were able to purchase this van and have it customized by an American company called Rollx. It was modified to include an in-floor rollout ramp and a kneeling system much like St. Albert Transit’s buses. To her, it wasn’t just important as a mode of transportation. It was more like a status symbol, something that she was proud to have.

Prior to obtaining this one, Brian was only able to get her in and out by using quad ramps.

“I was killing myself,” he said.

They parked the van outside last Saturday evening since it was nice out and there was no snow. By 10 o’clock the next morning, they discovered that it was gone.

He said that he paid somewhere around $33,000 for it back in 2005 but figures it would cost more like $50,000 for a comparable recent used van, while a new one could go up to $80,000.

He asks himself who would do such a thing.

“We’ve gone through that scenario and so on as to why and how. It just does not logically make any sense. Even if a person is out to steal vehicles, and you sit down in this vehicle, you realize, ‘Hey, there’s no passenger seat beside me.’ You have got to realize that there’s something that’s not quite right here. ‘What use is this vehicle to me?’”

So far, the family has not received any tips on the van theft. Their daughter is local realtor Sharon Gregresh who posted details of the theft on her Facebook page. It has since been viewed more than 1,800 times.

Brian Bedry hopes that whoever is responsible has an immediate change of heart.

“In the involvement that you have been in the theft of this vehicle, can you please turn around and realize what you have stolen? It’s not just a vehicle but a piece of a person’s life.”

If anyone has any information about this crime, they can call the St. Albert RCMP at 780-458-7700, or make an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).


About Author

Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.