Around a fortnight ago, 16 year-old Californian Melissa Huff had her artificial limbs stolen for the second time in a span of just three months. Now in a turn of events, the two prosthetic legs have mysteriously turned up in the girl’s mother’s van.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. David Austin said investigators checked the slightly damaged limbs for fingerprints and had interviewed a “laundry list” of people but were perplexed by the thefts.
Austin said, “We’re treating this as a crime.” He added, “We have a residential burglary to deal with. This is grand theft and burglary and if we find out who’s responsible we’ll take appropriate action.”
The two legs, which were taken from Melissa Huff’s bedroom in February, were found on Wednesday in the back of her mother’s van, Austin said.
“Mrs. Huff had the van at Arcadia High School (for about two hours) and when she drove away she heard some rattling and ultimately found the two legs that had just recently been stolen had been placed in the back of the van,” Austin said.
Melissa Huff, an Arcadia High School student, lost her right leg in 2003 when a car struck her outside the school. She who uses a $16,000 prosthetic limb to play softball for the school team and another one, valued at $12,000, for everyday use.
In November 2005, thieves broke into the Huff residence at Los Angeles suburb of Temple City, and took just her prosthetic limb. After that incident, Melissa’s prosthetist and a local real estate company donated about $16,000 for a new limb.
The stolen limb was found in the teenager’s backyard in January, apparently thrown there by the thieves.