INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A Hoosier veteran says his motorcycle was stolen while he was being treated at the VA Hospital in Indianapolis. Police from Veterans Affairs confirm they are investigating the case and have identified a suspect through surveillance video.
Retired Staff Sergeant Jeremy Winters said he purchased his bike a few years ago and worked on it regularly. He said the hobby gave him some peace as he deals with PTSD and other injuries he suffered after tours overseas.
"It was kind of therapy, a feeling of freedom, the last thing that left a little bit of adrenaline," Winters said.
He visits the Roudebush VA Hospital in Indianapolis about three times a week for treatment. Up until two weeks ago, he would ride his bike for the two hour trip from his home, just north of Peru, Indiana.
"I was medically retired," Winters said. "I broke some vertebrae, fractured my skull and did a lot of other damage. I was in the infantry and as long as you can keep going, you do."
His regular visits to his doctors continue but his motorcycle is now noticeably missing from the routine. On June 21, he said he parked and locked his bike outside the hospital. When he came out about two hours later, the motorcycle was gone.
"I thought 'you've got to be kidding there’s, no way my bike was stolen,'" he said.
A spokesperson for VA Police says surveillance video shows an unknown male walk directly to the motorcycle, start the motorcycle with what appeared to be a key and immediately drive the motorcycle off of the VA hospital property.
"It's pretty brazen really," Winters said. "It’s just not right. I don’t steal from other people, I worked for it."
According to police, the suspect has been identified and has no affiliation with the hospital. They are not releasing the surveillance video at this time because the investigation is ongoing and the footage is an integral part of the case.
Winters said he was very upset to learn his bike was taken.
"To build that bike it’s probably $20,000 to $25,000," Winters said. "I'm not going to be able to do that again. I’m retired now. I’m on fixed income."
He said he's accepted his motorcycle is gone but he would like to get justice.
"I’d just like to see the person who took it held accountable for it," Winters said. "I understand why he wanted it but I wanted it, too. I made it that way."
VA Police say they are working with prosecutors to move the case forward and attempt to get the veteran's motorcycle back.
Winters' motorcycle is a 1997 Harley Davidson. If you have any information that could help with this case, call IMPD or VA Police.