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

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A University of Missouri-Kansas City 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 told WDAF. "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.

"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."

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.