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Youths nabbed for theft of disabled MP's chair

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Youths nabbed for theft of disabled MP's chair
Photo: Lohr.ch
12:40 CET+01:00
Police in the canton of Thurgau have collared the young thieves of an electric wheelchair belonging to a disabled member of the Swiss parliament.

The wheelchair of Christian Democratic Party MP Christian Lohr was snatched from the Frauenfeld train station at the beginning of December 2013.

Lohr, 52, a thalidomide victim born without hands and with deformed feet, is dependent on the custom-made wheelchair.

It was found a week after the theft, abandoned in front of a school, and was returned to Lohr, who is also a journalist, publicist and college lecturer.

Thurgau cantonal police on Monday identified the thieves as a 16-year-old Swiss and a 17-year-old Portuguese.

The male youths explained that they had hoped to resell the wheelchair, police said.

But after hiding it for a week at the home of one of the youths, they decided to abandon idea.

The pair were members of a group of thieves, involving a 20-year-old German and an 18-year-old Turk, disbanded by police.

The band is held responsible for breaking into Frauenfeld businesses and stealing 12,000 francs’ worth of merchandise, while causing an equal amount of damage.

The arrest of the youths closes the matter for Lohr, who earlier wondered what anyone would want with the wheelchair, which weighs 180 kilograms.

The politician, a former head of the Thurgau cantonal government who also served on the town council in Kreuzlingen, was the focus of national media attention when he was elected to the national parliament in 2011.

He is one of the last victims of thalidomide, an over-the-counter drug first marketed in 1957 as a sedative and later to alleviate morning sickness in pregnant women.

It was linked to 10,000 cases of infants being born with malformed limbs, only half of whom survived.

Thalidomide was subsequently withdrawn as an over-the-counter drug but today it is being marketed mainly for treatment of certain kinds of cancers.   

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