Unwitting buyer of stolen van out $2K when Lufkin police recover it for original owner
Earl Murphy said he bought the stolen van paying $2,000, not knowing it had been stolen. It was for his disabled son.
LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - A paralyzed East Texas man has his customized van back after it was stolen from a drive-in last Thursday in Lufkin.
The owner of the stolen van, Gary Ogburn, said it was late in the afternoon Friday when he got his van back. Initially the word was there was no damages, but that ended up not being the case.
“We seen the windshield cracked, and the back door was dented in,” said Ogburn.
Not only were there damages on the exterior but on the interior, as well.
Ogburn said, “This little panel back here, I don’t know why they took it off, but they unplugged some wires, so I got to see what they go to.”
According to Ogburn, some personal items were also stolen from his vehicle.
“The jack, the remote control to the garage door, my military ID card,” said Ogburn.
But Ogburn was not the only victim in the case.
Earl Murphy said he bought the stolen van, paying $2,000, not knowing it had been stolen. It was for his disabled son.
“We had put word out there that we were looking for a wheelchair van for my son, and then evidently they came up and were talking about they had a van for sale,” he said.
Murphy reported the name of the person who tried selling it to him to police, who are still investigating.
Murphy said it all seemed real. He says what looked like the proper paperwork was presented to him during the exchange.
“I’m thinking, ok, they’re selling the van because they need the money because they were telling me that a family member had passed on and they needed the money, so I paid them,” said Murphy.
And unfortunately, he thinks he likely won’t get that money back.
“But I wanted the van that bad for my son, because he been in the house for two and the half years and I was trying to get him out,” said Murphy.
Ogburn said he’s just glad to have his van back.
“I couldn’t imagine going through all the hassle, if we didn’t get it back me trying to get another van, how long it would take to get one, and get it fixed up to fit my handicap needs,” he said.
Ogburn said he now plans to take his van to an auto repair shop and get it back as good as new.
It is unknown at this time whether any arrests have been made.
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