NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment was stolen from a van belonging to a charity organization dedicated to helping homeless veterans.
As CBS2’s Erin Logan reported, Gonzalo Duran, chief executive officer of Devil Dog USA, said his van was broken into near 184th Street and Arthur Avenue overnight Sunday.
The thieves took off with $12,000 worth of equipment.
“They took two mini camcorders that we use for our own purposes, our still camera, and a laptop,” Duran said.
Duran cannot do his “Vet Talk” show without his two mini-cameras, a studio camera, and even a borrowed camera that were all stolen. The U.S. Army sergeant who served in Iraq spends his days helping homeless veterans on the community talk show.
It is a platform for veterans to share their stories in hopes of getting assistance.
Duran parked the van in front of a Rite Aid drugstore on Arthur Avenue from 4 a.m. Monday until noon. When he came back to pick it up, the items were gone.
He said he was “saddened, but then when I realized what exactly what they took — it just made me so mad.”
All Duran now wants is any witnesses to come forward, or for the thieves to return the equipment – no questions asked.
“They can literally drop it off at 1920 Washington Ave., no questions asked,” Duran said, adding the he won’t file charges.
But he was still furious.
“Now, instead of focusing on my work that I need to helping veterans find housing, and food, employment, et cetera, I’m focusing on how to recover and recoup the funds and equipment,” Duran said.
Ron Hunter of A-Plus Certified Auto Glass has made things a little easier.
“As you can clearly see there’s an American flag on it, and the symbolism,” Hunter said.
Hunter was upset when Duran pulled up with broken glass and fixed the window at a much lower rate.
“I have family members; I have friends who have served. They went to Iraq. They did several tours,” Hunter said. “To have something like this happen, it hurt me.”
Duran said when he somehow gets the equipment back, Hunter will be his first guest on the talk show – sharing his family’s stories.
Duran said police got to the scene shortly after he called. Unfortunately, there were no surveillance cameras in the area.