(KTLA) — A family of ten from Baldwin Park is pleading for the public’s help after their specially outfitted van was stolen from in front of their home.
George and Michelle Barbosa have eight children, including two children with autism who need special care. Their 15-seat van helped the family get to and from meetings, activities and medical appointments around the area.
George Barbosa is a co-pastor at Apostolic Worship Epicenter in Baldwin Park. He said he was at home Thursday night getting ready for the evening while his wife and kids were eating at the dinner table just feet away from where the van was parked.
They were experiencing an issue with the van’s battery which led to AAA being called to give them a jump. Barbosa said he left the car running briefly while he went inside to change just to make sure the battery got a full charge. When he came out, it was gone.
“We spent a lot of time unfortunately in the van,” George Barbosa said. “Hospital stuff, my daughter has hydrocephalus. On the 28th, she has an appointment at Childrens Hospital L.A. It’s a lot. We have two autistic sons.”
“We were in shock. We couldn’t believe that someone would steal our car on church property, so close to our front door,” Michelle Barbosa said. “I think, for me, the thing that made it the most sad was seeing my kids’ reaction.”
George took a few seats of the van out to make room for strollers and other important items for the kids.
The Barbosa family has faced even more adversity in addition to the loss of their van. In August 2021, a transient set his personal car on fire, Barbosa said.
Both incidents have been financially straining on the family and they hope the person who stole their van will do the right thing and bring it back.
“This kind of feels like one thing after another,” Barbosa said.
The Barbosa family has filed a police report with the Baldwin Park Police Department, but as of Sunday, police have not had any luck locating the van.
The family is urging the public to keep an eye out for their vehicle and contact law enforcement if you see it.