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Stolen therapeutic tricycle returned to Hagerstown boy

July 31, 2012|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Ethan Paugh, right, has been reunited with his therapeutic tricycle and he took it for a ride Tuesday in the Hagerstown Police Department parking lot with his brother De'Aundre Paugh, left.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

Ethan Paugh was reunited with his stolen therapeutic tricycle Tuesday afternoon at the Hagerstown Police Department.

The 7-year-old laughed and smiled as he rode the orange, 8-foot-long trike around the police station parking lot with several of his friends running beside him.

“He’s in seventh heaven now riding it,” Ethan’s grandmother, Tammy Paugh, said with tears in her eyes. “It was heartbreaking for the family, especially for Ethan. It was his way to be with his play group.”

Paugh said Ethan suffers from Prader-Willi, a syndrome that, among other things, causes obesity and reduced muscle tone.

The tricycle helped Ethan develop his leg muscles.

She said the family discovered Sunday that Maryland State Police found the $8,000 tricycle at a consignment shop in Dundalk, Md., near Baltimore.

Hagerstown police drove there Monday to pick it up.

Paugh said the family used grants to help pay for the tricycle, which was fitted with a suspension system, turn signals, and a special seat and restraints to ensure Ethan doesn’t fall off.

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The tricycle was damaged while it was gone, Paugh said. Some of the brakes were missing and the seat was broken. She estimated that the repair costs would be a few hundred dollars.

Mike Baisey, spokesman for Service Coordination, a nonprofit organization that helped Ethan get the tricycle, said a private resident has offered to pay for the repairs.

“He doesn’t want to be named,” Baisey said.

Paugh said Ethan had the tricycle for only 10 days when it disappeared June 30.

The tricycle was lost when a 5-year-old female relative of Ethan’s took it without permission, Hagerstown Police Detective Tony Fleegal said. The girl rode the tricycle down a hill near the Paughs’ Church Street home and couldn’t push it back up.

Fleegal said the girl eventually told the family what she had done, but the tricycle was gone when they went to get it.

He said police were questioning a person in connection with the theft.

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