BELLEVILLE, Ill. - A child's prosthetic leg was stolen Thursday night by thieves breaking into cars.
The thieves got away with cash, credit cards, and a backpack. Inside the backpack was something they didn't expect: a prosthetic leg belonging to a 3-year-old boy.
On Friday, the boy's family asked for the public's help to find it.
Karen Frey Stephens, the boy's grandmother, posted this message to Facebook: "Josiah’s prosthetic leg was stolen out of the car last night. It is pictured below. The hip area is yellow with minions and the foot had a red tennis shoe on it. It was in a child’s black backpack in the Belleville IL area. Please look in dumpsters, ask your trash man to keep an eye out and if found please return or call me at +16186042814
Thanks in advance"
Stephens said she received a call from Hanger Clinic Prosthetics and Orthotics in Belleville. The company said it would like to make Josiah a new leg at no cost. The family said it's grateful for the generous offer and they will pursue that offer if the stolen prosthetic isn't returned. They're hoping to get it back soon. The process of making and fitting and adjusting a new limb can take months.
Josiah was born without a left leg and has been using a prosthetic leg since he was a year old. The family has borrowed a wheelchair for the boy to use for the time being.
The prosthetic leg has a red tennis shoe and a yellow hip section decorated with Minion characters.
Josiah's mother, Brie Rainey, said she's not worried about her wallet and credit cards so much. She's hoping the thieves will realize what they have and leave it somewhere or with someone so Josiah can get his life back.
"Obviously, upsetting. Extremely upsetting. ... It's his life, it's his independence, it's his walking, so all of that falls on me and then it's months of we would have to wait months for another one to be made, so that's a huge setback for him," Rainey said.