Amputee accused of robbery won't get his leg back until after t

Saturday, February 16, 2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An amputee who authorities say lost his prosthetic leg last month when he allegedly tried to rob an auto parts store won't get the leg back until after his trial.

Police arrested Sylvester O. Smith, 35, on Thursday at a Kansas City home.

The day before, Jackson County prosecutors had charged Smith with robbery and tampering in the Jan. 19 holdup of an O'Reilly Auto Parts store. Officers didn't find Smith until getting a tip to a police hotline this week.

Authorities say the prosthetic leg came off when an employee grabbed it as the robber tried to flee.

"We're glad we caught him, especially because of all the public interest in the story," said police spokesman Bob Murphy.

But just because Smith is in custody doesn't mean he'll get the artificial leg back. Police are keeping it in a vault as evidence.

According to police records, Smith lost his leg in a shooting on March 27, 2000.

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