News Channel 8 viewers to help 94-year-old St. Pete man replace stolen motorized trike

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Gone in an instant! When a thief made off with a motorized tricycle, he stole much more than a smart way to get around. He stole an elderly man’s independence. 

It’s owner is wondering how he’ll shop for food and medicine. The trike is his only means to run errands and keep him living in his Coquina Key home.

“If I lose my trike, I’m a prisoner here and I can’t buy my groceries,” said 94-year-old Richard Griffin.

Just over a week ago, security cameras at a 6th Street South CVS store caught a man with a backpack eyeing Richard Griffin’s $2700, battery-powered tricycle.

Seen on camera, the man gives it a good once-over. Griffin is inside, waiting for a CVS employee to find his eye wash.

Moments later, his only means to get around is gone.

“I use it to buy my groceries. So it is my lifeline. It’s that important,” said Griffin.

He buzzes along the bike lanes and sometimes the street, limited by the batteries and shying away from heavy traffic.

At the CVS, Griffin took the key and went inside. In the video, you can see the thief struggle to move the heavy trike.

This is the third trike stolen from Griffin. Thieves took two others from his front porch.

“You know, whatever he can get out of it, he won’t worth the damage he causes,” said Griffin.

Police worry the thief may have dumped the trike after realizing he can’t pawn it.

Griffin really wants it back.

“I feel so free because otherwise, I have to depend on friends or family to get my groceries for me,” he said.

When asked if he has a message for the thief, he responded: “I feel like knocking his head off. I won’t talk to him.”

Since 8 On Your Side presented this story on our early evening newscasts, we’ve had a number of viewers offer to help buy Richard Griffin a new trike.

The St. Petersburg Police Departments made arrangements with the Suncoast Law Enforcement Charities to help Mr. Griffin replace his tricycle.  If you would like to donate to Mr. Griffin, you can send a check made out to the SCLEC to the following address:

Suncoast Law Enforcement Charities
c/o St. Petersburg Police Department
1300 1st Avenue North
St. Petersburg, FL 33705

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