Thieves Steal 3-year-old's Minion-decorated Prosthetic Leg

A hospital has donated a prosthetic leg to a three-year-old boy after thieves stole a Minions-decorated limb from his mother's car.

On Friday morning, Brie Rainey—the mother of 3-year-old Josiah Rainey—opened her car on Belle Valley Drive, in Belleville, St. Clair County, Illinois, and noticed her belongings were strewn across the vehicle. Her wallet was missing, as well as Josiah's backpack, which contained his prosthetic limb decorated with Minions stickers. The car had been left unlocked, the Herald-Review reported.

Josiah has vacterl syndrome, a rare birth defect that caused him to be born without a left leg. Brie told NBC affiliate KSDK News the condition has not only left her son with limb anomalies, but affects his entire body including his lungs and kidneys. She said her son used his leg to walk every day.

As it can take up to three months to make a leg at a cost of around $10,000, Brie pleaded with the culprits to return her son's limb. "I'm just hoping there's just a little sliver in that person that says 'you know what somebody needs this'," she told KSDK.

After hearing of Josiah's loss, Darren Rottman of the pediatric orthotics and prosthetic services department at Shriners Hospitals for Children offered to donate a new limb to the child, Fox 2 Now reported.

On Monday, doctors made a cast of Josiah's leg so they could create a new prosthetic limb personalized for his body. Rottman told Fox 2 Now he hopes the limb will be ready in a week.

Brie's mother and Josiah's grandmother Karen Frey Stephens told the Belleville News-Democrat: "We're thrilled, of course, that Shriners very promptly acted on what Josiah needed."

Stephens told the Herald and Review on Sunday the family scoured the streets and trash cans in the hope of finding Josiah's leg, fearing waiting months of a new limb could affect his development.

Josiah is currently using a wheelchair borrowed from a local hospital to get around, after his insurance company denied his claim for new equipment. In the wake of the incident, the 3-year-old's family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to buy a new wheelchair.

"Josiah is the sweetest little boy, despite the fact that he endures countless doctor appointments, medications, treatments, surgeries, and hospital stays," the page reads.

Belleville police Capt. Mark Heffernan told the Belleville News-Democrat the investigation into the incident is ongoing. Those with information are asked to call 618-234-1212.

josiah rainey
Police are appealing for information after Josiah Rainey's limb was stolen. GoFundMe