ST. PETERSBURG, Fla (WFLA) – When a man stole Richard Griffin’s trike outside of a St. Petersburg CVS store in July, the thief stole more than a possession. He stole Griffin’s freedom.
At 94-years old, the trike was his only means of getting anywhere.
“I was a prisoner in my own home. Can’t walk too far,” said Griffin. “And if I don’t have a friend to bring me to the groceries… I’m a dead duck.”
The theft happened on July 18 at the store located at 4260 6th Street South in St. Petersburg. Surveillance cameras captured the theft, but the images are grainy and haven’t led detectives to the man responsible.
While tips may not have been flooding into the police department, donations have. Many News Channel 8 viewers saw the story, others read about the theft on social media.
Suncoast Law Enforcement Charities started collecting those donations on July 27 and by August 2, it had received 43 checks totaling $2,445 dollars.
Attorney Kevin Hayslett was also instrumental in acquiring the trike.
“We were watching this and instantly said, ‘we’ve got to help this gentleman out,'” said Hayslett. “This is one of those situations where you have a lot of people who care about you [Griffin], and in this case, I think this is a good testament to Pinellas County.”
Thursday, the department presented Griffin with a new motorized trike, along with registration and a lock.
Griffin’s daughter, Betty Battle, recalls the phone call she received from her father when he realized the trike was gone. This is the second time Griffin had his means of transportation stolen. Battle said this time the crime was not going to go unreported.
“Then I called the police and I felt like, you know, the feeling that he gets, it’s just like he just gets so hurt he wants to crawl into a hole,” said Battle, who says the last couple of years have been tough on her dad since losing her mother. She believes the donated trike has given her dad faith.
“He’s gotten such faith in the community because he’s been living alone without mom for two years… We lost mom, and just to know that people care.”
St. Petersburg Police are still hunting for the thief who stole Griffin’s original trike.
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