Someone possibly looking for a joy ride has made off with a paralyzed man's freedom, his sister said Monday.
Dixie Garner said a thief stole her brother's specially outfitted quad while Gerald Tharp, 48, is in a California hospital undergoing back surgery.
Tharp was paralyzed 28 years ago in an active-duty vehicle accident while stationed with the Army in Hawaii.
In the past year, he and his brothers worked to modify a Polaris Ranger Razor all-terrain vehicle with hand controls so Tharp, who is unable to move his hips or legs, can enjoy offroading with his family.
But while Tharp was away last week, someone entered his back yard off Marsh Road in East Carson City, moved aside another ATV and slipped away with his only toy, said Garner. Her brother was only able to enjoy the vehicle one time since the modifications were completed.
The last time the quad was seen was Thursday after Garner's son took it out. On Friday afternoon, when he went to clean it off, it was gone, she said.
Since then, Garner has been plastering Carson City with posters hoping someone has seen the quad and will return it.
"I don't even care what condition it's in. It's the only thing he has that gives him a little bit of freedom," she said.
The ATV is red with side-by-side seats, netting across the front and roll bars. It operates by hand controls.
"(My brother) is devastated over it. He's had a couple other toys over the years, but never anything he's been able to do on his own. This, he could just get in and out of by himself," she said. "Now it's just gone."
If you've seen Tharp's quad or have information on its whereabouts Garner can be reached at 775-315-6470 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.