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Paralympics athlete returns to find home robbed

September 13, 2012 3:32:22 PM PDT
Cheryl Leitner's Paralympics' events are the 100 and 200 meter sprints. She competed in Beijing, Sydney, and the London games.

She was in Long Island competing in the Paralympics Olympics.

They stole some of her priceless belongings.

29-year-old Cheryl Leitner's Paralympics events are the 100 and 200 meter sprints.

She competed in Beijing, Sydney, and the London games.

"We get to help people understand that people with disabilities have a lot they can do, more than what people realize," Leitner said.

You can imagine how heartbreaking it is to open the boxes that held the Olympic rings and coins you've earned to find the treasures stolen, swiped while she was competing in London.

"I was heartbroken. I can't believe anyone would do this to anyone, alone someone who works so hard. Her life is challenging every day. She doesn't need this. No one needs this," said Sandy Kipp, Cheryl's mother.

Sandy showed Eyewitness News what her stolen items look like, gold rings, but bearing the three swooshes of the Paralympics, coins from the Beijing and Sydney games, money and other jewelry worth thousands of dollars.

"They jumped the fence, kicked the door in and immediately knew where to go," Kipp said.

That's why police believe an addict the family once gave shelter to, and her boyfriend may be behind this.

Two people matching their descriptions, failed to convince a local coin dealer to buy the loot.

"At this point they're on the run. I don't know for sure if they know we're on their trail," said Det. Mark Bajada, Toms River Police.

"I couldn't imagine breaking into someone's house, taking stuff they worked so hard to earn," Leitner said.

Especially when the culprits may be someone you helped.

"I want it back. Put it in a bag and throw it over the fence, mail it back. Give it back to her," Kipp said.

Coin and cash for gold stores across the region have been alerted to look out for Cheryl's things.

Investigators say they're following promising leads in finding their suspects.

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