• 52°

Facing cancer, James Shepherd loses ride

GOLD HILL — James Shepherd called out of work Tuesday. He rarely calls out.
Despite having bladder cancer — and juggling treatments in Winston-Salem — he knows he can’t afford to miss days.
But when he went outside to start his 1998 Pontiac Sunfire for work around 6 a.m., the gold-colored car was missing. He doesn’t have a second vehicle.
James Shepherd had been working on the car the day before. He left the keys inside.
“Just wasn’t thinking,” he said. “Hindsight’s always 20-20.”
Shepherd, 56, had recently put new tires on the Pontiac and was fixing some problems on it. His wife said she couldn’t believe it when her husband woke her up.
“I just feel like pulling out my hair or getting in the bed and pulling the covers of my head,” Debbie Shepherd, James’ wife, said.
Along with the keys, Debbie said, she left heavy coats, her wallet and photos of her late parents in the car. Birthday and Mother’s Day cards were stashed away, too — their new home after foreclosure forced the couple out in September.
Now James Shepherd faces new obstacles: getting to work and getting to Winston-Salem.
“My husband has cancer and that’s the only way to get him back and forth to Winston,” Debbie Shepherd said about the missing car.
James’ next treatment is next week.
Debbie’s brother-in-law, whom they live with, said the car was there when he got home around 1:30 a.m. The couple contacted a Salisbury Post delivery person who told them it wasn’t about 5:30 a.m.
The Shepherds immediately contacted the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy B.J. Broere filed the report and entered the car into a national crime database.
Capt. John Sifford said Rowan residents should be aware of unlocked doors and windows on their vehicles.
“Whether you are at home, work, convenience store — or even church — do not leave your vehicle unsecured,” Sifford said.
But the Shepherds said they’re not looking for vengeance. They just want the car back.
“If somebody would just bring it back, no charges would be filed,” Debbie Shepherd said.
Otherwise, all bets are off.
“Just park it, leave the keys in it,” said the 4-foot-11 woman. “I might be little, but if I see ya, I can kick you in the knees and bring you down to my size.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office at 704-216-8700 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-639-5245.

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