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CLEVELAND – A six-year-old boy from Elyria is without his much-needed hearing aids after they were apparently stolen during a visit to the Great Lakes Science Center on Tuesday.

“He has a bi-lateral hearing loss,” said Ryan’s mother, Michele Gurcze. 

Ryan and his identical twin brother, Sean, were seven weeks premature and Ryan’s hearing never fully developed.  He has adapted to his hearing aids, or ‘helpers,’ as they’re called in the Gurcze family home.

“They have settings on there where he can adjust it himself,” said Michele.  “His ear molds, he just picked-out this past Christmas, he got red and green for the Christmas season.”

The hearing aids were put in a camera bag with Michele’s wallet so Ryan could have some fun. 

“They have one exhibit there, it’s a static electricity exhibit, and my son wanted to do it, well you can’t have any electrical devices on you when you do it – no cell phones, no iPads, or nothin’ like that,” said Ben Gurcze, Ryan’s dad.

Soon after visiting that display, the Gurcze family noticed the wallet and the camera bag were gone and they notified security but nothing was found. 

According to a spokesperson for the Great Lakes Science Center, “Our team was happy to help our guests search the building (Tuesday) after they lost their items.  We are disappointed that the items were not found.”

“I got sick to my stomach, first you’re in a panic mode because you wanna – you wanna find it – you know? You know what’s in that bag,” said Ben.

According to Michele, the Cleveland Police Department advised her to cancel all her credit cards but the hearing aids are worth a few thousand dollars and they’re not insured. 

They’re hoping someone has a change of heart before Ryan starts the first grade in a few weeks.

“He was very upset,” said Michele.  “My son was very upset that somebody took this and has not returned it and he keeps saying, ‘what am I gonna do mom, I need my helpers.’”

According to the family, they’re not interested in punishment, they just want them back. 

The hearing aids can be returned to the Great Lakes Science Center or dropped-off at the Cleveland Police Department.