Special Needs Kid's Swing Stolen ...Twice

"You've got to be kidding me," frustrated Colorado mom tells ABC News.

ByABC News
February 18, 2009, 7:29 PM

Oct. 31, 2007 — -- For the second time in three months, a swing specially made for a 5-year-old boy with cerebral palsy has been stolen from the backyard of his Colorado home.

"You've got to be kidding me" was the initial reaction from his mother, Cindy DeSplinter. "It's unbelievable," she told ABC News.

"The police have a feeling it might be kids in the neighborhood," she said. "Like they saw it up again and it was kind of a challenge to steal it again."

Micah DeSplinter is the third child of Cindy and her husband, a carpenter, but the first to live a full year. The couple had one child who was stillborn, and a second was born prematurely and died at 4 months.

"Micah," she said, pausing, "is pretty special to us."

A Medicaid program paid about $500 for the first swing for Micah, she said. But in July, someone stole that swing.

"I really don't think there's a market for it. This is not a marketable item. I mean, it costs a lot to get one, but that's like any other medical device you're going to pay 10 times what it's really worth. So the resale value is nothing."

"And especially when you have a family that needs it," DeSplinter said.

After the first theft, DeSplinter agreed to an interview with a television station, hoping a neighbor would recognize the swing and call police.

"We hoped someone would see it and recognize it and say, 'Hey, what is that person doing with a special-needs swing?' 'Cause it's not an easily hideable item."

Though the swing was not found, reaction to the story was swift.

A hardware store chain came to the house and built fencing between the family's yard and a park. In a nearby town, a family that heard about the theft paid for a replacement, choosing to remain anonymous, DeSplinter said.

Then earlier this month, the DeSplinters woke up to find the new swing missing.

"I just don't understand why," she said. "Why us? We haven't done anything to anyone. Not even 'us,'" she said, correcting herself. "This is a 5-year-old boy. Nobody should have anything against a 5-year-old boy, whether they have disabilities or not."