Seniors in wheelchairs ripped off at airport

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has found senior citizens ripped off at Hopkins Airport while riding in wheelchairs.

We’ve uncovered two reports showing a wheelchair assistant suspected of stealing from seniors as she pushed them through the terminal at the airport.

One victim says she had $500 stolen, and the other had close to $200 stolen.

Janet Gleitz told us it happened to her after flying into Cleveland from South Carolina.

She said, “And I opened my wallet, and guess what? All my money was gone. It was five hundred dollars.”

Janet said a woman she thought was very nice helped her into a wheelchair.

But, looking back, consider this.

Janet said, “She told me, once, for regulation purposes, ‘I need to hold your purse behind in the bucket behind you.’”

Janet added, “I should know better. I’ve flown all my life. I’m 78 years old. I knew it was wrong.”

Police reports show, in one case, after police confronted the worker, she pulled 500 bucks out from her bra. And, a report shows, the worker’s airport security badge was taken away.

But, police did not immediately arrest her and file charges. So, we asked why.

A Cleveland police spokesperson said the victims in these cases would have to contact a prosecutor themselves to press charges.

Investigators did not press this even with two victims because the cases are considered petty theft, misdemeanor cases. Those are often handled by referring victims to the prosecutor.

The wheelchair assistant had been working for a private contractor. Not for the city. We are not identifying her since she has not been charged.

We tried to reach her multiple ways, and we did not hear back.

The company she worked for says it’s handling discipline internally. And, no one can work for the company without security credentials. Again, a report shows this worker’s card taken away.

Thursday, we shared the news with travelers using those wheelchairs. They told us they had never thought about becoming a victim of crime like this.

We’ll watch to see if Janet gets some justice back in South Carolina.

For now, she’s just happy she got her money back.

She said, “That was a miracle. Absolute, miracle”

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