Mike McMullan has spent many hours preparing for wheelchair curling provincials taking place in Banff next month.
He lives with a disability and was planning to drive himself and a friend in his wheelchair-accessible van but now there’s been a potential change in plans.
“My wife got up yesterday morning to take our dog out for a walk and when she walked by the van it wasn’t here,”McMullan explained adding his 2000 Ford E150 blue van was parked just outside his house before it was stolen earlier this week.
McMullan lives near Borden Park and said his van did have an anti-theft device on the steering wheel and a security system — but they still managed to take it.
As temperatures drop, Edmonton police said they expect the number of stolen vehicles to go up.
In 2019 there were 283 stolen vehicles reported to EPS, 297 in 2020 and as of the end of November this year 169.
“It’s my independence, it’s how I get around, its how I go to curling, it’s how I go to my doctors appointments and now I can’t do that,” McMullan said
He said his van is customized with a wheelchair power lift, power seats and hand controls.
“You can’t just replace a wheelchair van, it’s not like you can go down to another dealership and get a vehicle, it cost probably upwards of 30 thousand dollars just to outfit a vehicle to enable me to get into it,” McMullan said
This isn’t the first time his van has been stolen.
“It’s the third time in two years. The first time it happened here a couple years ago, I got it back a couple weeks later (but) they stole it 48 hours later and we got it back fairly quick the second time,” McMullan said.
But he isn’t too hopeful this third time will be a charm in getting his van back.
“For some reason, I’m just not feeling optimistic this time, for some reason I don’t know why it can only happen so many times before the optimism leaves.”
That being said McMullan hopes it’s found for the holidays and in time to make the drive to the wheelchair curling provincials.