Thieves steal, completely destroy paralyzed UMKC student’s wheelchair-accessible truck

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A UMKC student is looking for help after his wheelchair-accessible truck was stolen.

The truck was found, but only after the expensive modifications that allow him to drive it were trashed.

“I’m still just kind of shaken-up," second year business student Ryan Kempker said. "It doesn’t seem like this is really happening. I don’t see why anyone would target something like that. It’s really no use to most people."

Ever since a car crash in 2006 left Kempker paralyzed from the waist down, he's depended on his customized truck, a four-door GMC Duramax Diesel truck to get him around.

It was a pricey project he estimates costs more than $20,000.

"It has a custom-built seat in it that comes down and picks me up and puts me back in the truck," Kempker said. "It's got a hand-control for the fuel and braking system. It`s got a lift on the back that comes around picks the chair up and sets it on the back."

Kempker said he was on his way to a physical therapy class Tuesday morning when he noticed his truck was missing from the fourth floor of UMKC parking garage on Cherry Street.

He said he immediately contacted campus police, who were able to confirm through surveillance video that his truck was stolen Sunday morning around 6 a.m.

Late Tuesday evening KCPD officers found the truck abandoned and took it to the city tow lot.

The amount of damage left Kempker stunned.

"It is completely destroyed," he said. "They ripped my wheelchair lift off of it. They broke two windows, blew a tire out, ripped the navigation system out of it, ripped the system completely out of it, tore the seats up and completely trashed the vehicle within two days."

His truck wasn't the only thing stolen. The thieves took his arm cycle, located in the back of the truck, that he was using to train for a Spartan race next summer.

Kempker said, without his truck, he doesn't know what to do next.

"It gets me around and does everything I need to do, so I’m kind of lost without it right now," Kempker said.

According to a spokesperson at UMKC, the Kansas City Police Department is leading this investigation. If you have any info, contact police at 816-494-TIPS.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help him cover the cost of repairs.

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