Handicap accessible van stolen from disabled driver outside Miami Gardens church

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - A disabled driver who parked his handicap accessible van outside of church for service returned to find it gone.

The 2000 Toyota Sierra van was custom designed for 65-year-old Kenneth Roberts, who has limited use of his legs. It has a hand-operated brake and acceleration controls.

Roberts told 7News he parked the van in a grassy area at Holy Family Episcopal Church near Northwest Seventh Avenue and 187th Street, last Sunday. Within a few hours, Roberts said, crooks got their hands on it.

“Yesterday I cried my heart out,” Roberts said.

His 2-year-old granddaughter noticed that the van was missing. “She said, ‘Grandpa, where’s your car?’ Because she knew my car was parked there,” Roberts said.

Surveillance video from a nearby home captured the crime as it unfolded. Two people could be seen walking up to the van, getting in and driving away.

With limited use of his legs, the van’s steering wheel was retrofitted so that he could push the gas and brake pedals.

“I can’t drive with the pedal, so they put the hand controls into the car,” Roberts said.

“His van is adapted, adjusted with the necessary equipment for him to drive,” said Rector Horace Ward with Holy Family Episcopal Church.

Roberts said the van was his only mode of transportation. Now he has to figure out a way to get to his doctors appointments, the grocery store and church.

“I hope the vehicle would be found, returned,” Ward said.

Despite the theft, his faith is unwavering. “Everything always works out. Believe me. I don’t feel nothing because I have Him,” Roberts said.

He told 7News that he will remain content and will pray for those who stole his van, but of course he still wants his van back.

“I’m very dependent on the vehicle, so it’s very unkind, unchristian,” said Roberts.

If you have any information on this theft, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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