Thief enters home to steal van of local artist
Police are on the lookout for a thief who stole a van that belonged to a Claremont man with cerebral palsy.
The 2014 Honda Odyssey, which was made especially for 31-year-old Quinn Klingerman, was taken out of the driveway of his home on the 300 block of Cucamonga Avenue in the early morning hours of June 23, according to Lt. Jason Walters of the Claremont Police Department.
Mr. Klingerman is a local artist and the van allowed him the freedom to drive around town, according to his mother, Sheila James. He and a caregiver use the van so Quinn can go to the Claremont Club for swimming lessons, grocery shopping, to the movies or just to spend time in the Village.
“It means very much to me,” Mr. Klingerman said. “Without it, I couldn’t leave my house.”
According to Ms. James and Lt. Walters, the thief apparently entered Mr. Klingerman’s home while he and the caregiver were asleep, took the keys from inside the home, and got away from the van. There were no signs of forced entry at the scene.
It wasn’t until 11 a.m. Saturday morning when the caregiver noticed something was wrong.
“I got a call from the caregiver who asked if I had borrowed the car,” Ms. James said. “I said no, and that’s when he said the car was missing.”
To have his van stolen is “devastating,” according to Mr. Klingerman.
“When I realized the car wasn’t around, I was terrified out my mind,” he said. “Seriously, that’s how I was.”
Lt. Walters noted that considering how the van was stolen, whoever is responsible would be facing a burglary charge in addition to grand theft auto.
“It would technically be a hot prowl burglary because you’re committing a residential burglary while [the home is] occupied,” Lt. Walters said.
The modus operandi of the theft is similar to an incident on June 4, where a car was stolen out of a driveway of a home on the 200 block of west Arrow Highway after the thief entered the unlocked home and took the spare keys. Lt. Walters noted it was “hard to tell” whether the two incidents were related.
The van was bought in 2014 for around $64,000, Ms. James said, and told police it would cost around $50,000 to replace.
In the meantime, they are using a rental van, which costs around $120 a day.
When he heard about this, Officer Matthew Hamill, who was the responding officer and is also the vice president of the Claremont Police Officers Association, pledged a donation of $480 toward the rental fees for the van, Ms. James said.
“It was just another way we could help out a resident of Claremont,” Officer Hamill said on Tuesday morning.
The community has helped out as well.
A GoFundMe account created to cover the costs of the van as well as rental transportation has already raised nearly $1,800, and a lemonade stand was set up Tuesday afternoon to help raise additional money.
Mr. Klingerman has a simple message for the person or people who stole his van.
“Please return it unharmed, hopefully honestly,” he said.
The van is described as a dark blue 2014 Honda Odyssey with “Braun Ability” on the lower left corner of the driver’s side door and a ramp that extends out through the back of the van. The license plate number is 7HOS427.
Anyone with information should call the Claremont Police Department at (909) 399-5411.