Some Fool Stole this Guy’s Wheelchair – Help him get a new one


“Dear PoPville,

A friend of mine, D’Arcee Neal, who is handicapped, was housesitting for a friend last night in NW when someone STOLE his wheelchair. He now has no way to get around and there’s a fundraising page up now to help him purchase a new chair.”

Ed. Note: I asked how the chair was stolen and was told:

“D’Arcee was housesitting in Logan Circle and got back to the house around 12:30 a.m. Because the condo he was housesitting in had stairs he had to leave the chair outside and crawl to get inside.

Workers next door arrived at 6AM and the chair which had been outside was gone so they think the window is about 1-6AM that it could have happened. The chair itself costs about $4,750 dollars so it’s like someone’s car being stolen. A police report has been filed at this time but at this point we just want to highlight the issue and get him a new chair. It’s so sad.”

The Gofundme fundraising page says:

“In late June, my good friend D’Arcee had his wheelchair stolen in a residential area of Northwest DC. This particular chair was a lightweight, more expensive model, so you can imagine the financial burden my friend now faces.

I don’t know what it feels like to have your mobility taken away from you, but I imagine that even though he’s a strong, vibrant individual, he feels violated. As his friends and family, we can come together to show him that we love and support him by funding his new chair. Thank you for your contribution–anything helps!”

51 Comment

  • Would have been nice to show a pic of the missing wheel chair instead of the person…I can’t help to think this is a scam. I hope that I am wrong.

    • You are very wrong..D’Arcee is a god

    • What difference would a picture of a wheelchair have made? I’m sure it’s easy to find pics of wheelchairs too

      • So the community can keep an eye out for the missing wheel chair- that way it can be returned instead of automatically collecting money to replace it?

    • Definitely does not seem to be a scam. Just google him.

    • This is not a scam. D’Arcee is a real person. WTH would anyone think this is a scam?!?!?

      • why? because scams exist. sometimes it takes a bit more information for people to make up their minds. no one is trying to be insulting.

  • The friend for whom he was housesitting should see if his or her homeowner’s insurance would cover it. (I’ve never been in this sort of situation – I legitimately do not know whether a standard homeowner’s insurance policy would cover a guest’s property at all, and if so, whether it would cover it given that it was stolen while left outdoors.)

    • p.s. If I asked a friend to house-sit for me, and the person was in a wheelchair, and couldn’t bring the wheelchair into my house because my house was inaccessible, so he had to leave it outside, and it got stolen, I’d feel at least partially responsible for that. I would seriously check into whether my homeowner’s insurance would cover this, and if not, I’d take at least partial financial responsibility for it myself.

    • justinbc

      If it were stolen from the condo then it likely would. However since he just left it sitting outside they’re unlikely to be sympathetic. I mean, anyone could claim virtually anything was stolen right off the street, and there would be no way for the insurance company to verify it.

    • saf

      My homeowner’s insurance would not pay for items stolen from a guest during a burglary.

  • I’d probably lock a $4750 item to something if I was going to leave it outside. And insure it.

    • Who the hell in a wheelchair carries a lock with them?

      So this guy goes into a bar and gets wasted. Tries to get off his stool to go home, but can’t. Just falls to the floor and crawls his way to the door. The guy checks himself, but is super drunk still. Can’t get up. Crawls along the street to his house. Tries to stand up and get into his place, but he can’t get up, so he pulls open the door, drags himself into bed and falls asleep.

      Next thing he knows, his wife is shaking him, waking him up. “You went out drinking last night, didn’t you,” she says. “No I didn’t,” he lies. “You bastard,” she shouts. “They’ve called – you’ve left your wheelchair at the bar.

  • Obviously this is terrible, but unfortunately it is not surprising. If two good things happen now, hopefully the first is that he gets a new chair and the second is that folks will realize that leaving anything of value alone for any amount of time is high risk. Extreme inconvenience should be weighed against the essential expectation that your stuff will be taken. Thieves make no reasonable accommodations.

  • This is really terrible, and I have no doubt that this is a great guy who needs help. But I have a serious question – what’s to stop people from making up stories like this and taking donations from people? I’d like to donate, but have gotten scammed before and this just makes me wary… (not just this specific case even, but I’ve seen other fundraising pages just like this with heartbreaking stories)??

    • D’Arcee has a linked in page and is in the gay men’s chorus…you could always contact him and ask to meet him yourself.

      • And that means what? When someone’s bike or rug goes missing then send in a pic of the stolen item and ask the community to keep an eye out for it. If a dog goes missing a pic of the dog is posted not a pic of the owner
        just this week in the news there’s the story about the little girl who got mauled by pitbulls and apparently claimed to be kicked out of KFC and they started a fund for her not possibly the story is not true. Stuff like this affects those who really needs help.

        • So while everyone is looking at a picture of a wheelchair, he’s just supposed to sit around with no way to go anywhere? The man cannot walk. And I think any pictures of the wheelchair are with him sitting in it anyway. Wheelchairs are an extension of the person who has to use one.

          His initial request of his friends was to help him find a temporary chair to borrow until he could figure out what to do about replacing the stolen one. He was doing this from the house he was stuck in becaues some terrible person stole his only means of getting around. People are scouring Craigslist and thrift shops to find one that will work. The fundraising page was set up in response to his plight of losing his chair and people being pissed off about that. I’m not certain that he was even consulted about it. He is a good guy with a lot of friends. Probably one of the best people you could ever meet, really.

      • justinbc

        Those 2 facts seem completely irrelevant to the question posed.

  • This is really sad if it’s true, but it is straight up cold to ask someone who can’t even get into your house to house sit.

    • We don’t have all the details, but it’s consciously strange to be in town and (1) not lock up your vehicle; (2) crawl up steps of house not yours at odd hours of night.
      I have a disability. I have to take preemptive steps. This puzzle has pieces missing. Hope D’Arcee’s situation is resolved soon.

  • I hate to be so cynical, but it just doesn’t seem to add up.

  • This really makes no sense. Why would someone ask a person with a disability that prevented him from going up stairs to house sit, knowing full well that the person couldn’t get to their apartment (up a flight of stairs) with a wheelchair?

  • I thought the post was going to say that he left the wheelchair unattended for 5 minutes… not for 5 hours.
    If everything happened as described, then it seems unfair of the condo owner to have asked someone in a wheelchair to housesit his decidedly non-wheelchair-accessible condo, unwise of D’Arcee to have accepted, and VERY unwise of him to have left a $4,750 wheelchair outside — apparently not chained to anything — for 5 hours.

    • justinbc

      Agreed. I’m curious why you even need to “housesit” for someone in a condo? Petsitting, sure, but just watching your condo for you for a few hours?

      • In answer to that and the above question, because my friend’s condo is having plumbing issues and the water is flooding in the laundry room so he asked me to watch over it and swap it out. Granted, it really doesn’t require an explanation if someone asked someone else to stay at their house. Perhaps they’re just paranoid about their apartment. But whatever the reason, I was doing him a favor, and he I. And, also, I’ve been here many times. There was nothing unwise in my decision. It was just bad luck, is all.

        • justinbc

          Thanks for the explanation D’Arcee. FWIW, I think lots of folks here are just used to being constantly berated with scams in DC, or alerts of scams. So anytime anyone asks for money, it’s always a good idea for them to provide as much detail as possible to assuage any questions of impropriety. It looks like your Fundrise campaign has been successful though, so glad to see this being remedied for you ASAP.

  • If this guy has health insurance, I would start there when trying to get a new one. If he does not but makes below 138% percent of the poverty line he is eligible for DC Medicaid and could get one through them. Im not saying either will be easy but both are doable. If this is a medical necessity he should be able to get a new one given some time and wading through bureaucracy.


    • Jeez can you imagine making 128% below the poverty line? I make 29k and I can barely make ends meet..

  • I think it says something about the debased level of crime in this city that no one yet has said, “what kind of sick @&$) steals a wheelchair???” Sigh.

  • So, D’Arcee is my roommate/tenant, renting out the basement in my home. Despite his disability, he is a strong, vibrant, compassionate, and physically mobile man. He does not let his disability define him, nor limit him. As such, he cares for himself in his own living space, he works a wonderful PROFESSIONAL level FT job in NW DC, he sings for and with the Gay Men’s Chorus in DC, he travels the world, and, as a good friend, he looks out for those of his friends in need. The friend in need who’s condo he was housesitting was, in turn, doing D’Arcee a favor as the carpeting in his living area was water damaged from a leaky pipe, by offering him a place to stay while I, his roommate/landlord, tore out and replaced all the flooring. Does that add up enough for you?

    • I appreciate the additional information! I donated without knowing this – but hopefully it puts some of the questions out of the mind of others. Thanks for sharing about D’Arcee.

    • Thanks for the explanation. this shows how providing a more complete explanation at the start of a solicitation would make it a whole lot easier for everyone. You can’t blame people for thinking it didn’t add up. People raised legitimate questions – why “housesitting?” – how was D’Arcee getting around inside the condo while staying there?

      All you had to do was present the true story – a pipe burst, his carpet needed replacing and a friend let him stay at his condo.

      There have been plenty of fake solicitations online. Most recently the totally fake story about the scarred 3 year old girl kicked out of KFC. The family got $135,000 in donations for their lie.

    • The additional information does make the events clearer but it also drastically changes the tone of the story. With that said, it still sucks his wheelchair was stolen.

  • Okay. So since people seem not to understand what’s going on here, let me try and clarify. It was MY chair that was taken, and NO it’s not a scam. I was born with Cerebral Palsy, and I’m not paralyzed, which means I can go up and down steps when I need to. My friend is traveling and I visit his house often when we’re rehearsing for a show with the chorus, so I’ve been here many times and overnight as well. Usually, my friend is here to help me, but as he wasn’t, I was doing him a favor AND making it easier on myself by leaving it upstairs, out of sight tied up behind the steps. I wasn’t trying to be irresponsible. Some person just thought it was a nice chair and undid my brakes and dipped out. I’ve lived in DC for years and as such, I don’t always bring my chair indoors because people’s houses are clean and that dirties them up, and two, there’s often no space to do it. So. I am perfectly capable of housesitting anyone’s house, and I offered to do it as a favor to my friend. Hopefully you understand a little better and I thank anyone who’s seen this page and donated. Wheelchairs are notoriously expensive by nature, and without the ability to go to work or even get around, it dealt me a huge blow.

    • You don’t need to explain yourself. Some people are always trying to blame the victim of crimes rather than help out. Let the judgment be their problem not yours hun!

    • thanks for clearing things up. have you checked to see if part of it might be covered by insurance (renters or otherwise)? sorry this happened to you. if you send POP a photo of the wheelchair, we’ll all keep our eyes out for it.

    • i’ve very sorry this happened. thats super cold of someone. it’s almost impossible to imagine the depravity of someone to steel someone’s wheelchair.

      thanks for making your comments! good luck to you.

  • Less judgemental and more compassion – how’s that sound people!? If you don’t know/trust this than done give it’s that simple. D’Arcee is my friend so I helped out and so will many others, that’s called friendship!!!

    • if you want people to donate $, providing a full story and answering people’s questions shouldn’t be an issue.

      • +1. One gets the feeling that D’Arcee’s friends are affronted that his integrity was even questioned. But it shouldn’t be surprising that those of us who don’t know D’Arcee from Adam have expressed skepticism. It’s nothing personal; just a wariness of requests for money.

    • Easy now. You know him so of course you’re sympathetic. If you could put yourself in the position of someone who doesn’t know him, only knows a tiny bit of the story (which kind of doesn’t make sense), and is being asked to give money, then maybe you would understand most of these responses. Hopefully you know that simply appearing on the internet does not make something true, so don’t be so quick to judge the skeptics. And as other people have said, if you’re asking for money you should at least put the whole story out there and be willing to answer some questions. It seems like D’Arcee himself has spoken quite well for himself in this thread.
      I hope D’Arcee can get a new wheelchair.

  • I’ve got good friends with CP and also good friends who are wheeled. So I don’t mean any offense. But was the wheelchair insured? I understand that it can take a few months to file the paperwork but I wonder why the campaign goal was set to $5000? Is there no way to recover the cost of the chair thru disability or supplier insurance?

  • he’s more than halfway to getting a new chair! that’s awesome!

  • I was just thinking we need “theft coins” concept – like bitcoins – to help proven victims who lack insurance. But who would get to decide if when and how to dole out the €€$$..

  • I love POPville. I love the great information provided about what is going on, where to go, what is worth it, and who to watch out for. I am so SICK of all of the snarky, “I won’t get Played ’cause I’m so damn smart” commentaries. Seriously, more than half of you posters wouldnt have the balls to say in person half of what you post. You know what? People get scammed. Likewise, people get robbed, cheated, beaten, raped, abducted and taken advantage of…. you don’t need to call out your stupid conspiracy theories after every post that announces a problem, crime, tragedy. I am truly sorry that someone heartlessly stole a wheelchair from someone with CP. I am truly embarrassed that so many idiots felt the need to deride the incident.

    • Please spare us your righteous indignation. Nobody here asked anything unreasonable of the OP with respect to providing more detail. If you’re going to ask people who don’t even know you or your friends for money then it helps to give them all the facts. The original story was incredibly vague, and after they came and provided details they hit their goal. Can’t you just be happy about that?

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