More than two months after a custom wheelchair hoist was stolen from an underground parkade in Ladner, Delta police confirmed Thursday a suspect has been identified and arrested.
Former fitness trainer Mike Hamill, who was left a paraplegic in 2017 after his fishing boat hit a humpback whale in Haida Gwaii, was left devastated on Dec. 15, 2020, when his hoist was taken.
He and his friends had spent the past few years and nearly $9,000 building him a special wheelchair hoist so he could continue to boat and fish.
The hoist was recovered two weeks later in an alley in Surrey, but it had been stripped and damaged.
Former B.C. fitness trainer suffers from devastating theft
Delta police said a suspect was identified and located in late February.
“Officers arrested the suspect without incident, and seized a number of items believed to be evidence,” Cris Leykauf, spokesperson for Delta police, said in a release.
“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.”
The suspect has now been named as a number of charges are being forwarded to Crown for consideration.
B.C. fitness guru faces long, gruelling recovery after boat accident
Before his accident, Hamill worked as a trainer, even attracting celebrity clients such as Clint Eastwood and Tom Berenger.
But above all, he loved fishing.
“That was my pastime to really enjoy myself,” he said. “Get out to the ocean, get out to the river — just the freedom of boating when you get out there.”
On June 25, 2017, Hamill and two friends had just finished four days of fishing and were headed back to their lodge when their boat hit a humpback whale that was breaching just outside Naden Harbour.
“We were sitting facing the captain at the bow of the boat when there was this hard hit. A wham,” Hamill told Global News in 2017.
“I went straight up and did a flip in the air, came down and ended up as part of the console of the boat.”
Hamil’s friends started a GoFundMe to raise money to build him another hoist and raised more than $11,000.
Mike Hamill’s life of fitness and sport before tragic accident
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.