Heart pump stolen from Westmoreland Co. man's car returned

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WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. —

Robert Baum's life depends on a bag he carries everywhere.

In it are a controller and battery pack that connects to an internal device that keeps his heart pumping.

The device is so crucial that Baum, 72, of Unity has two of them — one he carries and a spare he keeps in his car when he's out — just in case.

Baum, who had the heart pump implanted a few years ago because of a leaky valve, said he saw the spare external device in his car Saturday morning. When he and his wife returned home from running errands, he noticed the device was gone as he looked to take it back inside his house.

“We lock our car, and sometimes my wife hits the wrong button and it doesn't lock, and apparently that's what happened, and somebody stole the bag,” Baum said.

Baum said they had stopped at several places that day, including Lowe's, Wal-Mart and Giant Eagle in Unity.

“It could have been stolen from any one of those places,” he said.

Baum thinks the thief may have mistaken the device for a camera, because the bag looks like a camera bag.

After contacting state police, Baum called nurses at UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh. He had to travel to the hospital that night to get a loaner device.

On Friday, Baum's wife returned home to find the device on her front porch. She said the bag contained medication that had their address on it, which is likely how however returned the device got it to their home.

Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.