Over $90K raised after family's work truck stolen during wild LA pursuit

The community came together and helped a family whose work truck was stolen during a wild pursuit on live TV

Andres Benitez had been home for less than 10 minutes when a suspect broke into his house and stole his truck. 

The suspect, Johnny Anchondo, 32, led officers on a pursuit through parts of Orange and Los Angeles counties. At one point during the pursuit, the suspect who was driving a white van, sideswiped a parked car at the intersection of Carmenita Rd. and Placid Dr. in Whitter. The van became disabled but Anchondo kept attempting to drive off, causing sparks and smoke to come off the vehicle. He managed to get out of the vehicle and ran away from officers. 

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After a brief run, the suspect broke into a home and came face-to-face with Andres Benitez. 

"I was in the kitchen drinking an energy drink, my mom was on the couch and we were talking. And we see the back door open, and that back door is never suppose to open, no matter what. So when I saw it open, my first reaction was someone is trying to get into the house," Benitez told FOX 11.

Benitez grabbed a kitchen knife and lead Anchondo to the front door. But before the suspect left, he grabbed the keys to Benitez' new white work truck. 

Thousands watched on live TV, with helicopters over the scene, as Anchondo got inside the truck and drove off. 

"Once I saw him start the truck, I knew it was over, and it broke my heart," Benitez emotionally said.  

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Benitez told FOX 11 that he saved up money and purchased the truck just three weeks ago. He has a landscaping business with his brother and father and all their equipment was in the truck.

But luckily, the community came together and helped the family. Within 24 hours of the incident, over $80,000 was raised through a GoFundMe. By Friday night, over $98,000 was raised. 

"I'm so thankful and at the same time surprised. I'm so thankful because that's my whole family's business right there," said the youngest Benitez brother Antonio. 

"From the bottom of all our hearts, from the Benitez family, from everyone here, thank you so much," he exclaimed. 

Andres says all the money will be used for the family's business.

Another victim of the pursuit is John Reynolds. His van was also stolen and used in the chase. He uses the refrigerated van to deliver fresh produce to convenience stores in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The family created a GoFundMe page that has raised more than $30,000 as of Friday.

"I'm very humbled by the whole situation. In reality, it's only property, it's only a van. What's most important is my family was safe," Reynolds told FOX 11.