crimes

Bronx, New York’s Torie Branch accused of stealing Holocaust survivor’s electric wheelchair

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Torie Branch, 45, of the Bronx, New York City, New York, United States is accused of stealing a red Pride electric wheelchair worth more than $2,570 on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, New York City. The wheelchair belongs to Eric Plan, 95, a Holocaust survivor.

During World War II, Plan was the only member of his family who survived imprisonment in Auschwitz concentration camp in Oświęcim, Poland. He was beaten so badly that it affected his balance so he needs a wheelchair or walker to get around.

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At 8:00 a.m. on May 3, 2022, Plan arrived at a doctor’s office on West End Avenue in Manhattan. The office is not wheelchair accessible so he had to leave his wheelchair outside. 

When Plan came out at 10:00 a.m., his electric wheelchair was missing. Based on the video obtained by the New York City Police Department, the wheelchair was stolen at 8:10 a.m.

“Of course, I was surprised because I never thought that someone would steal a wheelchair from a handicapped person,” Plan told Fox 5 NY. His wheelchair has yet to be recovered.

But on the evening of May 6, 2022, Branch was arrested. On May 7, 2022, the NYPD announced that he was charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. 

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The Holocaust was the genocide of European Jews during World War II. Nazi Germany and its collaborators systematically murdered some six million Jews between 1941 and 1945 across German-occupied Europe.

In March 1951, the government of Israel requested $1.5 billion from the Federal Republic of Germany to finance the rehabilitation of 500,000 Jewish survivors. After negotiations, the claim was reduced to $845 million and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany was opened in New York.

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