BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Bakersfield woman was met with two vehicle thefts in a row in early June– one of the vehicles was her way to earn a living.

The woman, known as Brooklyn Ornelas, is a mother that has dedicated the last year of her life to a passion project to honor her grandmother’s soul food recipes.

After her truck was stolen in June, she has been left without answers and without an important source of income for her children. 

But this isn’t the extent of it: Ornelas was met with back-to-back thefts in June.

On June 8, her father-in-law’s truck was hotwired in the middle of the night. The next day, her food trailer was stolen too. 

“It was like my baby. It was something I did for my grandmother who taught me how to cook, and she taught me that soul food is like love like. So it meant something like to feed the people and to just make my neighborhood have a connection,” Ornelas said.

Her father-in-law’s truck was later found and then impounded. It was stripped of parts and he was met with fees to have the vehicle released.

As for Brooklyn’s bright blue food trailer, it’s nowhere to be found. 

“It’s pretty big, pretty bright. So we drove around looking for it. I called the police, made a police statement, asked a couple of neighbors, looked at cameras, and there was no luck. So I just put my faith in the police hands and haven’t got anything,” Ornelas explained.

She’s now dealing with debt collectors demanding payments on something she cannot use and was intended as a source of income to support her family. 

The police investigation of the theft? Closed, due to the lack of leads.

Brooklyn sells Sunday dinner plates to offset the costs of what it took to put the truck together and save for a down payment to acquire another one. 

“I’m getting like, hope and it’s bringing our neighborhood together. A lot of neighbors meet each other when they come, and that makes me happy because I’m doing something positive, even though something negative happened to me.”

Days after the event, her family bought cameras to prevent further crimes, but then— those cameras were stolen, too. 

Being within the Oleander neighborhood, Brooklyn is at a loss for what to do now.

“I thought that I was in a safe neighborhood and that if I did something happened that the police will help me and they just closed the case and I’m still stuck with the debt, and my children are terrified…..they think the bad guys are going to come back and steal more stuff.”

With the rise of car thefts and break-ins, Brooklyn’s message is simple: look out for your neighbor. 

“Pay attention when you see something, even if it’s not for you, if this your neighbors pay attention and let them know because something happened to them and you want your neighbor to do the same.”

BPD wants to emphasize that cameras can be a deterrent, but be sure to get high quality video cameras to ensure the best chance of getting identifiable features. 

For more information on Helen’s Soul Food and their dinner plates, you can visit their website.