A San Diego-based nonprofit that helps athletes with physical disabilities is trying to solve a cold-hearted crime: the organization’s van was stolen over the weekend.
The van belongs to the Adaptive Sports and Recreation Association, a local group that aims to provide sports and recreation activities for children and adults with physical disabilities through competitive league sports, rec team sports, camps, sports clinics and more.
The white Ford Ecoline is emblazoned with the nonprofit’s large, blue “Adaptive Sports” logos on its side and back and has the California license plate number 7T18946.
Equipped with hand controls, the vehicle is specialized to fit the needs of the organization and is used to assist athletes.
Lindsay Holzhammer, the program and camp director at Adaptive Sports, told NBC 7 the van was stolen from the nonprofit’s parking lot on Market and 33rd streets in Grant Hill sometime last weekend.
Fortunately, none of the group’s specialized wheelchairs, hand bikes or other equipment was inside.
Still, the crime is disheartening.
“It is frustrating and disappointing,” Holzhammer said. “I don't know why someone would take this opportunity from kids."
From wheelchair archery and basketball, to lacrosse and many more wheelchair activities, Adaptive Sports and Recreation’s goal for its athletes with physical disabilities is simple.
“Why not stay active and play the sports they love?” explained Holzhammer.
But now, with the theft of the van, the goal is a bit harder to focus on.
With basketball season starting Wednesday, Holzhammer said she would’ve been loading the van with wheelchairs to take to the gym.
And, in October, the group was planning on loading up the van with high schoolers’ wheelchairs and driving it to a basketball tournament in Phoenix.
“Hopefully people think about the repercussions of their actions for other people,” Holzhammer added.
The Ford van was purchased with charitable donations. The nonprofit hopes anyone who sees the van will call San Diego police.