Thief sentenced for stealing man's wheelchair

Posted at 4:25 PM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-03 19:25:54-05

SAN DIEGO - A man who broke into the apartment of a 79-year-old Hillcrest resident and assaulted him, then rode off in the victim's electric wheelchair, was sentenced Wednesday to 16 years in state prison.

Stanley McQuery, who has three prior serious felony convictions, pleaded guilty last month to robbery and an elder abuse allegation.

Police said McQuery, 55, confronted William Ballard at the victim's Sixth Avenue apartment shortly after 3:30 a.m. last April 23, pushed him out of his wheelchair and stole his phone.

Ballard -- who has one leg amputated above the knee -- testified during a preliminary hearing last June that he heard noises as he got up to use the restroom and saw McQuery coming through a window.

"I said, 'What are you doing here?'" Ballard said. "He said, 'I'm trying to get out.'"

Ballard testified that McQuery demanded money before trying to push a second wheelchair from outside into the apartment. The defendant then pushed the victim out of his electric wheelchair and sped off, running over Ballard's knees and ankles.

"It really stressed me out," Ballard testified. "I've been afraid ever since."

McQuery was in the wheelchair when officers caught up with him a few blocks away. As they approached, he jumped off and ran away but was stopped by a police dog and taken into custody.