A local veteran was targeted by thieves on a day meant to honor him and others, and it was all caught on camera.
David Fortin stopped at Discount Smoke on his way to a free Veterans Day breakfast at Hyvee. He made the mistake of leaving the car running, and that’s when the thieves struck.
“I was signing my credit card ticket, and turned around, and my Jeep Liberty was pulling out of the parking lot and I ran out to stop the perpetrator and I guess I wasn’t fast enough,” Fortin said.
Fortin served for several years in the Marines and he said he just wanted to spend the day with his fellow veterans.
“You could’ve done it on Christmas I would’ve felt better about that, but no you picked Veterans Day,” Fortin said, “I didn’t get to spend Veterans Day with my brothers and sisters.”
The whole act was caught on surveillance camera from the smoke shop and Fortin filed a police report right after it happened.
Lt. Andrew Beightel from the Topeka Police said there is hope.
“A lot of these cars get picked up by our license plate readers and notify our officers that’s a stolen vehicle and we get it back to the rightful owner,” Beightel said.
Since he has been without a car, Fortin has had to walk to his job where he works in construction for the City of Topeka. He’s not letting this challenge get in his way, but he does have a message for whoever took his jeep.
“I’m not going to let you get me down,” Fortin said, “I’m giving you the opportunity to bring my vehicle back. Right here, 204 sw Taylor, park it on the street, lock up the key and walk. Even if I see you do it, I’m not going to confront you, I’m going to let you walk.”
If you recognize the car thief from the surveillance footage, call police.