NEW YORK - The NYPD has made an arrest after a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor had his electric wheelchair stolen in Manhattan.
Torie Branch, 45, of the Bronx, was arrested Friday evening and faces charges of grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.
Branch is accused of stealing an electric wheelchair valued at over $2,500 that belonged to Eric Plan, a 95-year-old man who was imprisoned in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.
Plan was the only member of his family who survived imprisonment in the camp and was beaten so badly that it affected his balance. He needs a wheelchair or walker to get around, but on Tuesday morning, his motorized wheelchair was stolen from outside a doctor's office on the Upper West Side.
"Of course I was surprised," Plan said. "Because I never thought that someone would steal a wheelchair from a handicapped person."
Police say Plan arrived to his doctor's appointment at 8 a.m., however, the office is not wheelchair accessible, so he decided to leave the $2,570 electric wheelchair outside. Two hours later, when he came out, the wheelchair was gone.
Authorities say it took just 10 minutes from the moment Mr. Plan walked inside for Branch, allegedly seen in a video released by the NYPD, to steal the red Pride electric wheelchair, escaping southbound on West End Ave.