Delta police have arrested a suspect in the theft of a custom-made wheelchair hoist stolen from a Ladner condo complex’s underground parkade on Dec. 15, 2020. (Debbie J Green/Facebook photos)

Delta police have arrested a suspect in the theft of a custom-made wheelchair hoist stolen from a Ladner condo complex’s underground parkade on Dec. 15, 2020. (Debbie J Green/Facebook photos)

Delta police arrest suspect in theft of custom wheelchair hoist

The device was stolen Dec. 15, 2020 in Ladner and later recovered, stripped and damaged, in Surrey

Delta police have arrested a suspect in the case of a custom-made wheelchair hoist stolen from a Ladner condo building late last year.

On Dec. 15, 2020, thieves made off with the hoist after gaining access to the underground parkade of a condo building on River Road using a stolen key fob. Owners of several other vehicles in the parkade also reported thefts on the same date.

The hoist was recovered later that week later in an alley in Surrey, but it had been stripped by thieves and damaged.

“Our officers continued to work on the investigation behind the scenes,” Cris Leykauf, public affairs manager for the Delta Police Department, said in a press release on March 4. “Delta Police’s crime reduction unit took over the investigation from front-line patrol officers and followed up a number of leads.”

Police identified a suspect, who was located in late February.

“Officers arrested the suspect without incident and seized a number of items believed to be evidence,” Leykauf said. “They’ve since been in touch with the owner of the wheelchair hoist to inform him of this news, and I understand he was very pleased.”

Police plan to forward a number of charges in this matter to Crown for consideration.

According to a GoFundMe campaign set up shortly after the theft, the custom-made hoist was designed specifically for Mike Hamill to help him transition from his wheelchair into other medical devices.

Hamill, who owns Tsawwassen Springs Fitness, was on a boating trip near Haida Gwaii three years ago when he was involved in a freak accident that broke his back in three places and crushed his spinal cord.

His friend Wayne Davis, who works for a medical equipment company, poured hours of his free time into designing the special lift to get his dear friend onto his boat for the first time since he became a paraplegic.

“It was a labour of love to help my friend,” Davis said on the GoFundMe page. “Mike has a 25-foot boat which he hasn’t been able to go on ever since his accident. The whole idea was to build something to drive down onto the dock, basically a power chair-based hoist with [a] special lift attached to it. We were really looking forward to the summer and getting him on his boat.”

In three days, the GoFundMe campaign surpassed it’s goal, raising $11,875 to build Hamill a new hoist.

“Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart,” Hamill posted on the GoFundMe page on Dec. 20, 2020.

“You kindness and generosity has meant so much to me. I am so touched with the outpouring of love during these very difficult times for everyone. With your support we will now be able to rebuild the lift.”

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