Kentucky family’s wheelchair van recovered

Joel Hilton/WAVY.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Kentucky family who had their van stolen from them over the weekend will have it returned after it was recovered by police on Tuesday.

Police say the Red Dodge Caravan was recovered shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday in the 3700 block of Larkin Street in Norfolk.

Sara Abell told WAVY.com she believes news coverage helped find the van. She said her faith in Hampton Roads is restored, “People were in my Facebook messenger, I was getting tons of phone calls from people in your area and it just must be a really neat community that pulls together and helps in situations like that.”

The Abell family from Kentucky was in Norfolk to celebrate their son’s graduation from the Army School of Music. When the party ended Thursday night they drove back to the Residence Inn on Military Highway and parked in the handicapped spot right out front. When they went to leave on Friday morning Sara Abell said her husband came in saying he couldn’t find it.

Photos: Special van stolen from hotel

The van is specially equipped for their daughter Leah who has cerebral palsy.

Police took a report but didn’t have much to go on. The hotel told the family they don’t have surveillance cameras in the front of the building so there is no video. Meantime, the family was stranded. A new van costs more than $50,000. They ended up buying a used one for $5,500.

“It would just get her home, it’s not tall enough,  we had to recline her back to get her in,” Sara told WAVY.com.

Norfolk police forensics said once they dust the van for prints they will return it to the family. Police have yet to identify any suspects.

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