Bay Area Paralympian's Stolen Gold Medals Recovered: Police

Jen Yung Lee helped Team USA win gold in the Winter Paralympics in 2014, 2018 and 2022 games last month in Beijing

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A backpack and three gold medals that were stolen from a Bay Area native and three-time Paralympian's car Saturday in San Antonio have been recovered, according to police.

San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus tweeted Sunday evening that the backpack and medals were recovered. He added that he will be giving more details on Monday.

Paralympian Jen Yung Lee said on Sunday night that he was excited with the news but he added that he didn't want to get his hopes up until he actually gets his gold medals back.

Hours earlier, NBC Bay Area spoke to Lee about the incident.

Lee, who said his Bay Area contacts may know him as "Horitius," grew up in Daly City and graduated from Westmoor High School. He now lives in San Antonio, where he plays on the Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. Lee is also an Army veteran.

Lee helped Team USA win gold in the Winter Paralympics in 2014 and 2018, and again most recently last month in Beijing.

Lee said all three of those gold medals were in his official Team USA backpack, which he'd left in his car as he went out to eat with a friend. His Tesla, which was parked in the parking garage, captured video of a man breaking into Lee's car, then running off with the backpack.

Lee shared the break-in video on social media Saturday and asked for help getting the medals back.

Lee's video gained traction online. As of late Sunday, it had gathered more than 2 million views and over 22,000 retweets on Twitter.

Even McManus tweeted the video, as he asked for anyone to come forward who might recognize the person in the footage.

In an interview with NBC Bay Area Sunday, Lee acknowledged it wasn't a good idea to leave his backpack with the medals in his car. He was about to take the medals to show them to his friend's family.

"I take responsibility as well for not being more cautious,” he said.

Hours before the medals were recovered, Lee made a plea to whoever broke into his car:

"Keep the backpack, you know, keep whatever other items in there, but I really just want the gold medals back," Lee said. "This is something that I will cherish and the memories that I bonded with so many people along this journey."

A Bay Area Paralympian is asking for help getting his gold medals back after they were stolen out of his car Saturday night in Texas. Alyssa Goard reports.

On Sunday, Lee returned to the same parking garage where his car was broken into. He tried dumpster diving in case the thief discarded the backpack nearby.

Lee is a lifelong athlete, he grew up running track and playing basketball in Daly City. Lee had his left leg amputated above the knee after injuring it in a motorcycle accident in 2009. He was introduced to sled hockey while living in San Antonio.

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