Stolen racing wheelchair returned to Paralympian - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Stolen racing wheelchair returned to Paralympian

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Erik Hightower (FOX19 photo). Erik Hightower (FOX19 photo).
Provided photo. Provided photo.
A photo taken of the racing wheelchair on Tuesday (Provided photo). A photo taken of the racing wheelchair on Tuesday (Provided photo).
NEW RICHMOND, OH (FOX19) -

A racing wheelchair stolen from a Paralympic athlete last month has been located and will be returned to its rightful owner.

Phoenix native Erik Hightower, who was born with spina bifida and began racing two decades ago, had his custom wheelchair stolen from the parking lot of an Anderson hospital. Hightower said the $5,000 chair was stolen from his cousin's truck and was still working to pay it off.

"I don't want to press charges or anything. I just want my chair back," he said back in June.

Hightower, 28, has raced all over the world, including the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. He said losing the chair prevented him from keeping up with his rigorous off-season training for the next games in 2016 and ended up filing a report with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

Hightower was informed Tuesday morning that his specially designed chair was found at the Ohio Township Park in New Richmond. He said a park employee knew a relative of Hightower and called to tell the family the chair was fine and didn't appear to be damaged.

The Paralympian is currently training at the Olympic Training Center in San Diego, Calif. and is planning to meet his mother and the recovered wheelchair in Phoenix later in the day.

Related: Racing wheelchair stolen from Paralympic athlete

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