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Thief spoils Make-A-Wish vacation for family at Universal Orlando


ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) – A wallet was stolen from a family on a Make-A-Wish vacation with their son, who is handicapped.

Ryan DeFillippo, 7, has spina bifida and hydrocephalous and is preparing to undergo a tough surgery in a few weeks. He lives outside of Detroit, but last week Make-A-Wish Michigan sent Ryan and his family on a dream vacation to Orlando. In the middle of their trip, the fun came to a halt.

“I was heartbroken and didn’t know what to think in the moment,” Stacy DeFillippo said. Stacy DeFillippo, Ryan’s mother, spoke with WESH 2 News from Michigan.

She said during a visit to Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the family got on one of the roller coasters and put her purse in a locker where riders are instructed to store loose articles.

She said when she got off the ride, her purse didn’t feel right and saw that it had been unzipped. Stacy DeFillippo quickly realized her wallet with the Make-A-Wish debit card and $500 dollars in her own cash that she’d saved for the trip was gone.

“I couldn’t believe not only that someone would steal but they stole from a handicapped kid,” Stacy DeFillippo said.

Stacy DeFillippo reported the theft and said the workers at Universal were kind and helpful, and even got them a free meal. She doesn’t blame Universal and said it was not their job to watch her purse.

Stacy DeFillippo said Make-A-wish was able to cancel the debit card and get her family some more cash that same day. She said the family lost almost a full day of vacation time dealing with the theft.

“It took away the innocence of the trip, the carefree nature of the trip,” Stacy DeFillippo said.

As for Ryan, his mother said he’s a happy kid and even a thief couldn’t steal his joy.


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