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Crime

Family scrambling to find options for son with special needs after van stolen

WATCH: A Calgary family is pleading for answers after their van was stolen earlier this week. As Lauren Pullen reports, they rely on it to get their eight-year-old son with special needs around.

A Calgary family is desperate for transportation options after the van they use to drive their son and his wheelchair was stolen from their home last week.

Calgary police confirmed to Global News a van was reported stolen on Oct. 17.

The 2006 blue Toyota Sienna was taken from the family’s garage in the city’s northwest, according to family friend Martiza Pino. A purse, along with the keys to the vehicle, was also taken.

Pino said the van is vital to the family, as they use it to get their son Sebastian — who has special needs — to school.

“What’s devastating to them [is] they are not able to transport this child,” she said. “The family is really suffering.”

READ MORE: Calgary woman shocked and confused over theft of car door

Pino said the family has been going through some financial hardship and the theft has added to an already heavy stress load.

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“Nobody needs this right now,” she said.

A van similar to this blue Toyota Sienna was stolen from a family in northwest Calgary on Oct. 17.
A van similar to this blue Toyota Sienna was stolen from a family in northwest Calgary on Oct. 17. Contributed

The family’s insurance plan doesn’t cover theft, so a replacement vehicle is out of the question at the moment, she said.

Tatiana Nunez said the loss of the vehicle is sad for her family of five, adding she’s worried about how to get her son around the community.

“It’s very sad; it’s the only vehicle I have for transportation [for] my son… I don’t have anything…. it’s very, very sad,” Nunez said.

READ MORE: Police uncover elderly Calgary woman’s $10K wheelchair during stolen vehicle investigation

Pino said the single-income family had been stockpiling money to modify the van with a ramp at a cost of $10,000. But with it gone, the family is scrambling.

“I am very sad, I can’t believe it. This happened here in Canada,” Nunez said. “I have [lived] 17 years here and I can’t believe it.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family purchase a new van that is wheelchair-accessible, Pino said.

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