Heartless theft leaves disabled woman speechless

05 Dec, 2011 04:00 AM

A severely disabled Canberra woman has been left without any means of communicating after thieves stole specialised equipment worth thousands of dollars last month.

Twenty-one-year-old Perrin Tucker was at a medical appointment with her mother Katrina when thieves broke into their Flynn home, causing thousands of dollars' worth of damage and taking everything electronic in sight.

"The laptop is gone, all our computing equipment is gone," Mrs Tucker said. "They even opened Christmas cards looking for money."

But more important than the loss of jewellery and electronics was the specialised equipment that Perrin uses to communicate.

Mrs Tucker said her daughter suffered from multiple disabilities including cerebral palsy and autism which severely affected her ability to speak, leaving her to communicate through the use of an iPad and a specialised device called a Zygo LightWriter.

"That's gone, so Perrin can't tell us what she wants," she said.

Mrs Tucker said the family would be thousands of dollars out of pocket after their insurance company refused to refund the full $6100 to replace the Zygo LightWriter, which has to be imported from Germany.

She said she was concerned that the device, which converts text to speech, would be abandoned after the thieves failed to recognise its use.

"It's such an unusual thing that people might not recognise what it is and are more than likely discard it," she said.

"That's what I'm concerned about. It's such a valuable, vital thing for communicating with other people." The theft has also affected Perrin Post, the fledging business Mrs Tucker established to provide employment for her daughter.

"Besides the upset of missing so much, it's just awkward running around," she said.

"It's like we're jinxed."

The business is supported by Disability ACT and can be found at perrinpost.com.au.

from http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/heartless-theft-...