A 46-year-old paraplegic - crippled almost two years ago by a gunshot wound - was again shot and injured yesterday in a bizarre predawn home invasion in Southwest Philadelphia, police said.

Police said four masked gunmen forced their way into the paraplegic's home on 70th Street near Linmore Avenue at 5:30 a.m., holding him hostage for 1 1/2 hours.

The victim had a criminal record and police believe he fell in with a bad crowd, authorities said. The armed intruders, who remained at large, ransacked the house and demanded money, police said.

"This was not random," Sgt. William Gallagher said. "They went all through the house apparently looking for something, but at this point, we don't know what."

The men stole $200 from the victim's pocket before shooting him and fleeing at 7 a.m., police said.

The victim, whose identity wasn't released, was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania with a gunshot wound to his left side. His condition was unknown, police said.

The incident wasn't reported to police until 9:45 a.m. Detectives were working to determine who had placed the 911 call and the reason for the delay.

"There is a lot of time missing," Gallagher said.

Detectives were trying to locate a young man who supposedly witnessed yesterday's shooting. The victim told police that the young man, between 18 and 20 years old, had stayed with him from time to time, though he did not know his name. The victim said the young man had been shot in the finger during the home invasion. Investigators checked area hospitals but came up empty.

"The only witness is this guy that we can't locate," Gallagher said.

The victim became paralyzed after getting shot in the back while exiting a West Philadelphia nightclub in April 2005, police said. *