Wheelchair basketball player Lee Melymick needs his wheels, both on the court and out on the roads.
So it was huge blow when he said his handicapped equipped car, with hand controls, was stolen Tuesday afternoon from an underground parking garage on Front Street in Toronto.
To make matters worse — he had six of his wheelchair wheels — made specially for playing basketball — in the trunk of the vehicle.
“It’s just so incredibly difficult,” Lee told Global News.
“It would just be so beneficial and helpful. It’s accessible, so it’s been designed so I can use hand controls on it,” he said
Lee’s father, Mark Melymick, is begging the public to step in and help find the allegedly stolen vehicle.
He said the 2007 silver Lincoln Town Car is worth roughly $15,000, but the wheelchair wheels in the trunk are priceless.
“Please have a heart and bring it back and bring those wheels back somehow. Please,” said Mark.
Lee was paralyzed from the waist down when he fell of a ladder in 2015, but the 24-year-old athlete found a way to continue his passion for sport by excelling at wheelchair basketball.
“He plays for the national team and hopefully he’s Olympic bound,” said Mark.
The timing of the theft couldn’t have come at a worse time, since Lee was heading off to an important basketball tournament in Prince Edward Island on Wednesday. A trip that had already been paid for.
“Now I’ve had to scramble to find extra wheels,” said Lee.
“Thankfully a friend is coming down here to get him tires and get him to the airport because it’s difficult because he has to travel with his wheelchair, with his basketball wheelchair, all of his supplies,” said Mark. “It’s not easy. It’s not easy at all.”
Lee added that he lost his keys about two weeks ago, possibly dropping them somewhere in the underground parking garage. He believes someone may have found those keys and then drove off in his car.
“We’ve reported it to the police and right now we’re getting the front desk to check all angles of the security footage to make sure we can learn anything we can,” said Lee.
“The person who stole it, we saw a short video clip of the person unidentified, but they went to the car directly, turned it on and immediately left.”
The Melymick family filed a police report but they said they’re frustrated with the lack of action that’s been taken so far.
“No one has come here yet. No one has looked at any evidence or anything.”
Toronto police said they’re aware of the reportedly stolen vehicle. Meanwhile, the Melymick family is asking the public to keep their eyes peeled for the stolen car.