A Paralympian whose customised car was stolen from outside his Dublin home has had the vehicle returned to him after it was found by gardaí.
John McCarthy, from Dunmanway in Co Cork, had sparked a huge online appeal for information when he posted about the theft on his Facebook page on Monday morning.
The C-reg black Audi A6 Estate, which had been customised for the wheelchair-user, was stolen from outside his home in Lucan on Sunday night. The thieves had entered Mr McCarthy’s home while he slept and taken the keys.
Good news came yesterday morning when the athlete — who has already represented Ireland in three Paralympic Games, in Athens, Beijing, and London — received a call from gardaí saying the car had been located in nearby Adamstown and was apparently not damaged.
“I got a call at 7.40 this morning to say the car was there,” Mr McCarthy said.
The theft had come at the end of a run of weeks of bad luck for the Corkman, not least being hit by a serious illness which has impacted on his training regime as he vies to qualify for the Rio Paralympic Games later this year.
Mr McCarthy said that he was glad he had slept through the break-in at his house, stating: “As a wheelchair user, I wouldn’t have been able to jump up and check.
“In a good way, I was unaware that it happened.”
He is now changing the locks at his home and changing the key for his car, which he bought secondhand three years ago.
As for whether or not the thieves who stole it may have abandoned the vehicle once it became a national news story, John McCarthy said: “I don’t know. I would love to know.
“I would hope that whoever took it saw the publicity and thought: ‘Look, we are not going to get rid of this too easily.’ ”
To make it to the Rio Games, Mr McCarthy needs to meet the qualification standard in the 100 metres by the mid-June cut-off, and he is now considering competing at an event in England this weekend.
“Hopefully it is the start of more good luck coming in,” he said.
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