'He's struggling': Appeal for disabled man's stolen bike
FOR Brad Heimerl, his bike is not just a mode of transport but a ticket to freedom, and that has now been taken away from him.
The 27-year-old, who has Down Syndrome, reportedly had his red mountain bike stolen from his family's Kingaroy home on Thursday.
The bike was chained up at his home and his mum, Jodi, said she was devastated for Brad, who can't understand why someone would take his bike.
"He had it for two years it is a big loss to him," she said.
"He doesn't understand why someone would steal it because we have taught him that you don't steal.
"He has really struggled the last 24 hours and I cant explain it to him."
Brad grew up in Kingaroy and now resides in Hervey Bay where he has access to supported living.
He has transformed since moving to the coast in October 2016, shedding 70 kilograms and taking up the sport of triathlon.
Brad finished second place in his division at the Bay Break Multisports Festival in 2018, and seeing her boy up on the podium was one of the best days of Jodi's life.
"I am ecstatic with how far he has come," she said.
"He is having a great life and the only reason he brought his bike out here was because he wanted to continue with his training and go for a ride with his brother."
Brad delivered pamphlets for six months to buy the bike two years ago and will miss out on competing at the Bay Break if he doesn't find a replacement in time.
"I was hoping by putting it on Facebook whoever has it might return it.
"I hoped, because I believe in this town and that I would wake up and it would be in the front yard but that didn't happen," Jodi said.
Jodi has been an active member of the South Burnett community for 25 years and is shocked someone would steal from her family.
"Because we have done right by the community the community does right by us, but it's not like that anymore," she said.
"I have lived in this community and supported it all these years and for someone to do it to Brad, he doesn't deserve it."
Jodi has received offers from people to build bikes and of donations from bike shops but she said it doesn't change the fact that Brad no longer has his bike.
The bike has been reported as stolen to Kingaroy Police.