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Plaistow police seek thief who stole wallet belonging to Epping man with ALS

Union Leader Correspondent

July 20. 2016 9:08PM
Police are trying to identify this man who is suspected to stealing a wallet from the RadioShack in Plaistow Tuesday afternoon. (Plaistow Police Department)

PLAISTOW — Police are hoping the public will help track down a suspected thief who stole a wallet belonging to an Epping man who is battling ALS and in a wheelchair.

Martin Wallem was shopping at the RadioShack in Plaistow with his caregivers just after 2:30 p.m. Tuesday when the wallet was swiped from the store counter, police said.

Police Chief Kathleen Jones said one of his caregivers placed the wallet on the counter for a moment and turned to ask Wallem a question.

Surveillance video showed a man grabbing the wallet from the counter with his left hand while putting a piece of paper in front of his hand to conceal the theft, Jones said.

No one inside the store was able to see if the man left in a vehicle or on foot.

He was described as a white man with a mustache who was wearing a blue sports tank top.

“It’s inhumane. How can you victimize a person who is already in a tough spot in life. It’s unimaginable that someone could do that,” Jones said.

Wallem was diagnosed with ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2002. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Wallem, who began noticing symptoms six months after he and his wife, Cara, married in 2000, is in the late stages of the neurodegenerative disease, which affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

He is able to see and hear clearly, but he is immobile and can’t speak.

Wallem is able to move only his eyes and facial muscles.

He was an outdoorsman before the diagnosis, and has continued to remain active with the help of his family, friends, and caregivers.

For the past several years, Wallem has been pushed to the summit of Mount Washington. He’ll return to the summit next month.

Anyone with information on the theft or the person police believe to be the thief is asked to call the Plaistow Police Department at 382-6816.

Crime Epping Plaistow

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