Teen’s stolen prosthetic legs returned
Published: March 3, 2006 | 3671st good news item since 2003
Prosthetic legs that were stolen for a second time from a 16-year-old girl have been quietly returned, police said.
Melissa Huff’s mother found the legs in her unlocked car, which she had parked at Arcadia High School Wednesday afternoon.
“Nobody was seen in or around the car,” Arcadia police Lt. Ken Harper said Thursday. “There were no witnesses. We lifted some fingerprints and will see if there is any match.”
The first theft occurred Nov. 1 when a thief cut a hole in a window screen in Huff’s home in Temple City and stole a $12,000 cosmetic leg. Huff’s doctor and two companies donated money for a new, $16,000 “sports leg,” which the sophomore uses to play softball on the Arcadia High team.
The cosmetic leg was returned in early January, tossed into the family’s back yard.
But on Valentine’s Day, somebody stole both legs after prying open a screen window. Huff’s room also was vandalized.
At the time of the second theft, Huff was unable to wear the prosthetics because she had recently undergone an operation to repair the bone at the end of her amputated leg. She was scheduled on Friday to pick up yet another new leg, which the community again had rallied to buy for her.
The legs that were returned were damaged but usable, Huff said. The damage included graffiti.
Huff said she and her family have theories about who stole her legs and believe the culprit knows her.
“It doesn’t bother me,” she said. “I’m not scared of them.”
Huff’s right leg was amputated below the knee after she was struck by a car two years ago.
Arcadia is about 24 miles east of Los Angeles.