Tires stolen from transport van for veterans

Posted at: 07/02/2013 10:30 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Volunteers at the Southeast New Mexico Veterans Transportation Network were scrambling to fix their only handicapped vehicle after the tires were stolen.  And they have handicapped veterans that need to make it to doctor's appointments.

"I came in at 5:30 to open up, I noticed we had a low rider van for no good reason and the tires were missing," said Magil Duran, the President of the Southeast New Mexico Veterans Transport Network.

"All they left were the five lug nuts on the right rear tire," said Duran.

The burglars cut open the wire fence to get at the tires.

"That’s where they came from, that's how they snuck in and that's how they weaseled out," said Duran.

And this isn't just any van.  It's the only van the organization has built to carry handicapped veterans to medical treatment.

"I'm angry because this is a service that we provide for free, taking them any place they need to go," said Duran.

Making things more complicated, the van has specific tires that are hard to find.

"To take our tires and just drop it on the ground, it just amazed me," said Duran.

Volunteers don't have much time because a wheel-chair bound veteran in Hondo needs a ride to his doctor appointment Wednesday morning.

To the network's surprise, a donor came forward and the van will be getting new wheels and rims by Wednesday morning.

But it's not early enough for the Hondo vet to make his appointment.

"He has to make other arrangements and with him he cannot afford to wait too much longer," said Duran. "He needs to see his doctor."

But the donation will help other veterans get to where they need to go soon.

"My heart goes out to them, to thank them," said Duran.