A HOMELESS Bundaberg man has made a desperate plea to have what he says is the only thing that keeps him safe returned.
The 37-year-old, who asked not to be named, is upset his new stretcher bed was taken from its hiding place under stairs at the Wide Bay Volunteers building on Woongarra St.
He said it was his only valuable possession beside his mobile.
The man bought the Oztrail Easy Fold Stretcher only two weeks ago.
He told the NewsMail it was too heavy to carry around during the daytime and he had been stowing it under the steps.
On Tuesday he hid the portable bedding under the steps at 10am, only to return at 4.30pm and find it gone.
"I saved my money and paid for it myself," he said.
"It's about 20kg and too heavy to lug around all day so I hid it there."
"I have asked the businesses around the area and no one saw anything."
Residents on social media said they would buy the man a new stretcher after he posted about the loss.
One person said life was hard enough without people taking what wasn't theirs.
But the man said he was not asking the community for pity and being homeless was a choice he made.
He replied to their offers, saying he didn't expect any help and was trying to find the person who had taken the bed and have it returned, adding he was "extremely grateful for all your offers".
The man reiterated the fact he made the choice to be homeless when he spoke with the NewsMail.
"I posted about it on Facebook and had some lovely people offer to assist," he said.
"But I don't want to burden anyone, I just want my belongings back."
He said being homeless was tough enough and now someone he was back to sleeping on a sleeping bag, which was neither comfortable nor ideal.
"I'm a sort of loner and don't go where most of the other homeless go," he said.
"There are more people out there (on the streets) who need help more than me.
"I'm just upset because it protected me from the elements and kept me safe."
The stretcher is described as khaki in colour, 1.5m in length when folded up, 15cm deep and wide and weighs about 20kg.
The theft has been reported to the police and Bundaberg Regional Council, as well as businesses in the area.
The man said he would be "forever grateful" if anyone who comes across the missing stretcher hands it into the police.
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