Observant Neighbors Help Recover Stolen Van, Property

Neighbors were a big help in recovering stolen equipment that a local family needed to stay in business.

But the criminal may have left a longer trail for police to follow than he intended.

For nearly 30 years, Terry and Judy Hopkins have operated Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning.

They've never had any problems until now.

Their new cleaning van was stolen out of a locked bay early Wednesday morning.

"We're still not sure how the individual got in here," Judy said.

Their 2011 Chevy cargo van was gone along with thousands of dollars in carpet cleaning equipment.

"It's truck mounted its not the portable unit," Judy said. "It's high end and that was new piece of equipment that we had just put in."

Fortunately, the couple has an older unit and they were able to keep business flowing.

The theft couldn't have happened at a worse time.

"You have graduations and you have proms and all of those things that are starting to come up and its like oh please," Judy said.

Meanwhile, a few miles away at the Quik Pik near 96th and Q, surveillance cameras caught something of interest to the Hopkins'.

"We had a man that tried to break into out store about four in the morning," Sam Wheeler of Quik Pik said. "He didn't get in but he had a stolen van from what i understand from the police."

The attempt was captured on store cameras

On the side of the van, the lettering "Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning."

Cameras are able to capture a decent look at the man behind the wheel.

"I turned that over to the police they came out and recorded it," Wheeler said.

The van was later seen at Brookhaven Park near 110th and Harrison.

Neighbors noticed the van had been sitting here all day Wednesday
and finally called the number on the side of the cleaning van.

"And Terry said oh, 'thank you thank you', so we went over and called the police," Judy said.

As a reward, Judy said the callers are entitled to free carpet and upholstery cleaning whenever they need it.

The van was recovered, but the guy responsible for this strange theft is still on the loose.

The van is still unavailable for the company to use...it's being processed for fingerprints by police.

The crook also probably left more behind than he intended to...his tool box was on the front seat of the van.

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