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Van full of Christmas presents stolen from family

Created: 12/20/2013 6:54 PM
By: Kim Tobin, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Just before the holidays an Albuquerque family woke up to a nightmare early Friday morning. Their only mode of transportation, their van, was stolen.

The family has nine children. Between doctor’s appointments for their sick child, and getting the rest of their kids to and from school and sports, it's been a devastating situation.

"I don't know what makes people do things like this," said Robert Blea.

The van was donated by Blea's upstairs neighbor, who knew the family was struggling financially. The family decided to spray paint it with school spirit. They decorated it in their kids' Highland High School colors.

Their youngest, Bella, was born premature and has a heart murmur. She rides in the van once a week to see her doctor.

"It's pretty much all we have," said Blea.

Blea put an ad on Craiglist, pleading for help. Friday afternoon the situation took a turn.

Blea got a few phone calls from people who saw his ad, and saw his hard-to-miss van driving around town. Another person called and said they had spotted the van parked off tramway.

"I'm a happy man," Blea said. "It's just so neat that people pay attention and there's still good people out there."

The good news is that the van was found. The bad news is that the van was also the hiding place for the kids' Christmas presents. It doesn't look like the family will be getting those back.

But Blea says Christmas isn't about how may presents are under the tree, but instead, the people he loves most.


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