Paralyzed man's customized van stolen in Pontiac
PONTIAC, Mich. (WJBK) -
A Pontiac man who's paralyzed, is undergoing rigorous therapy hoping that one day he'll be able to walk again.
But during a recent session a thief stole his customized van from the parking lot. Now he's hoping viewers can help track it down.
"When you get knocked down, you've got to get back up," said Jeff Gross, 45. "That's what I do every day."
Gross is keeping his positive attitude Wednesday even though can't get around because his brand new wheel-chair accessible van was stolen.
"Without it I'm stuck," he said.
After a car accident nearly 17 years ago, Gross says he became paralyzed but worked for years to walk and made it to 300 steps. But Gross suffered a set back again, a year and a half ago.
"The hospital where they crossed the legs and made a mistake and left them crossed," Gross said. "It cut the circulation off and so they had to amputate the leg."
For the last 15 months, Gross has been working hard to learn to walk for a second time.
"It's a challenge every day, we work as hard as we can to get back doing it," he said.
After waiting 10 months and holding fundraisers, in November Gross finally received a $100,000 2014 Ford custom-made van. It is lowered four inches and raised six with a ramp.
Gross is even able to drive himself to physical therapy in Southfield.
"I brake with it, I throttle with it, and then because I'm a C56 quad my hands don't work. The hands lock into the steering wheel so that I can drive."
Spending three hours a day learning to walk, Gross heading to therapy noticed his new van usually parked near his home in downtown Pontiac was gone Monday morning.
"Whoever stole this had to stand up because there's no seat in the van," he said. "And you have to drive it with controls."
After learning it hadn't been towed, Gross, called police and is now trying to get rides to physical therapy.
"To take something I use to go to therapy and to learn to walk again, is pretty unbelievable," he said. "Shame on you, we need it back desperately."