NYC Man Accused Of Stealing Wheelchair From Holocaust Survivor Arrested

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Luke Lattanzi Contributor
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The New York City Police Department (NYPD) arrested a suspect accused of stealing a wheelchair from a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor in Manhattan on Tuesday morning.

The suspect was identified as Torie Branch, a 45-year-old Bronx resident. Branch is allegedly seen on security camera footage rolling down the sidewalk on Manhattan’s Upper West Side after stealing the wheelchair outside of an office on West End Avenue near West 73rd Street, according to the New York Post.

The wheelchair Branch is accused of stealing is a red Pride electric wheelchair worth $2,570, the Post continued. It belonged to Eric Plan, a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor who was imprisoned at Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, according to Fox 5 News. Plan was the only member of his family to survive Auschwitz, having been beaten so severely that he now requires a wheelchair or walker to get around, the outlet continued.

Police said that Plan decided to leave the wheelchair outside his doctor’s office during an appointment because it was not wheelchair accessible, according to Fox 5. When Plan left the office two hours later, the wheelchair was gone. “Of course I was surprised,” Plan told the outlet. “Because I never thought that someone would steal a wheelchair from a handicapped person.”

Police stated that it took just 10 minutes for the wheelchair to be stolen after Plan left it outside, Fox 5 noted. (RELATED: Jewish Man Beaten In Gang Attack As New York’s Anti-Semitic Hate Crime Rate Quadruples)

Branch was arrested Friday and is currently charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, according to the outlet.