South Bay family loses $26,000 after their work van got stolen

A South Bay family is out an estimated $26,000 after surveillance video showed at least three people stealing their construction work van.

The burglary happened early Monday morning at around 2:30 a.m. at a gated warehouse along the Carson, Gardena border on South Main Street. Officials from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said the van was then found burned after being stolen.

The charred van still had the sign saying "Valasedes Construction Inc.," and the owner, Shane Valasedes, said he got a call from a passerby about his stolen van. The fire department did respond to put out the fire.

"Somebody called into our office and said did you have a van, and we're like yeah and asked them if they've seen it, and he goes yeah it's under the freeway, the 105 Freeway and it's burned," Valasedes said.

Valasedes said he then drove over to the location.

"Sure enough all the bins were opened. Tools were ripped out of it, the interior gutted, and then they lit it in on fire to top it all off," he said.

The estimated loss is around $26,000, according to Shane.

"In the side bins alone, we carry an array of tools for all different types of work, so there's $14,000 in the bins alone," Valasedes said. "This guy got away with quite a bit, around $26,000, somewhere in there. But not only that, they took the material, bags of concrete, bags of drywall mud, electrical connections."

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Valasedes said it took him eight years to build his own business, and he has worked hard to maintain his business, but he said it has been hit by burglars several times since 2020.

"You raise yourself up, you work so hard, you sacrifice time with the family and going on vacations and things of that nature, and then you finally build everything back up again, you get to that point where you think you're OK, and then you're hit again and it knocks you back down again," he said.

Valasedes said he has tried various security measures and each time, insurance has not been helpful.

"It's the same thing, jumping through the hoops every time, police reports, insurance, and you get nowhere, and you pay the extra costs for high-cost insurance, and they come up with some excuse [saying] if the tools are not bolted and affixed to the vehicle, it's not covered which is total bull," he said.

The burglaries have also impacted Valsedes' family and his kids.

"It really hurts my family and I don't really like it, and sometimes bad things happen to good people and that shouldn't be able to happen. When others do that, it's like they take what they want, and they don't care about anyone else," said Nikolaos Valasedes, Shane's 12-year-old son.

Along with the burglary, Valasedes said his oldest son got into a hit-and-run crash on Normandie Avenue Monday as well. He said the car was stolen in that case.

"It's hit after hit and all in the same day. It was a rough Monday," said Valasedes.

The family said they don't want to ask for help but have no choice, and they have started a GoFundMe campaign to help recover their latest losses.