CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - A Chula Vista mom is appealing for tips after a thief stole an adaptive tricycle belonging to her disabled daughter.
On Wednesday, when Marlene Swanson came out to the backyard of her home off Sweetwater Road, she stared at an empty spot on her deck.
Missing from Swanson's yard was her 18-year-old daughter's adaptive tricycle.
“My heart dropped," said Swanson.
"It takes a lot to get me to cry, but that made me cry."
Born with Down syndrome, Desiree received the trike three years ago from an Orange County nonprofit, which was customized handlebars and pedals.
In the midst of the pandemic, the trike has helped Desiree escape the isolation.
“She was riding and kind of bouncing and singing. It was a really good day,” said Swanson.
“If we said it was time to ride the bike, she'd perk up. For her, it was a lifeline. It was enjoyment."
The tricycle also helped Desiree shed nearly 40 pounds, which was important because of a congenital heart condition.
The tricycle she loved so much disappeared from this yard sometime Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. The trike is valued at more than $1,200.
“She can’t process why her bike is not in its place right now," said Swanson.
"When she walks out, she wants to see her bike and she doesn’t see it, and that’s a loss for her. It’s doesn't look like your normal Huffy. There’s something wrong with someone that can take something away from someone that has special needs. That part is the part that is most heavy, I guess."
The mother did file a police report, but she is hoping the thief will bring it back.
"We actually don’t want anyone to be prosecuted. We just want our baby girl’s bike back. It’s a lifeline to her, and we’d like to have it back."
An online fundraiser has been set up to help pay for a new tricycle.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Chula Vista Police at 619-691-5151.