Thieves take handicapped woman’s specially adapted car

2008-10-12 00:00

While many South Africans deal with car theft every day, for Helga von Fintel (64), who is disabled, the theft of her specially modified car was a particularly heavy blow.

Though physically challenged, Von Fintel said her approach has always been to never lie down on life. She has lived alone for most of her life and values her independence. That was why she worked hard to finally be able to afford, in 1982, a brand new car to help her get around in.

It served her for 26 years, until it was stolen from outside her workplace in Townbush Road on Thursday.

“I have always felt safe in that environment, but I guess crime doesn’t pick out a certain group of people. It affects everyone,” she said.

Von Fintel said her car was last seen where she always parks it during working hours.

“It must have happened between 11.15 am and 12.30 pm, because when my colleague left at 11.15 am, she says [the car] was there. But when she returned at 12.30 pm, she thought I was out and was surprised to see me inside. And that’s when I notified the police.”

Von Fintel’s 1982 Toyota Corolla GLS is a four-door automatic, beige in colour, with the number plate NP 68382. It has the accelerator on the left hand side because Von Fintel’s left side is her strongest, along with a steering knob to make driving easier for her.

With tears in her eyes, she admitted that while the theft is a great inconvenience, she refuses to be a victim. “I have always had to deal with life’s challenges and I just have to take this as another challenge. Life will go on. I will continue to work and will certainly get another car. It might be a step by step process, but God will get me through. I’ve coped all my life through Him.”

sphumem@witness.co.za

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