Six days after someone broke into James “Coz” Koschmann’s garage in Los Lunas and stole his minivan equipped with specialized hand-controls, he received a call that police had found it.
On Tuesday afternoon, Koschmann arrived at Charlie’s Paint and Body in Belen to find that his 1985 Dodge Caravan was in relatively good condition. Except for a few missing items and the damaged hand-controls thrown into the back, Koschmann is grateful that he has his van back.
“I’m relieved and yet I’m not,” Koschmann said. “I’m relieved that I don’t have to buy another one, but it’s not really in driveable condition for me. The hand controls may or may not work — they may not be able to be reinstalled. But, even if I had to pay for the replacement cost, that’s still significantly less than having to buy a new vehicle.”
Johnny Adams, a manager at Charlie’s Paint and Body, said had just left the shop Saturday morning when he saw his daughter towing in a van that looked very familiar.
“Me and my grandson were going to Giant to get a Coke and I was reading the paper,” Adams said. “I was reading the story about the stolen van when I looked up and saw my daughter towing a yellow van.”
Adams said his grandson made a quick U-turn and went back to the shop where he matched the license plate on the van to that in the picture.
According to the towing report, the van was found by the Belen Police Department on the 300 block of South Second Street. Adams said he had called the Los Lunas Police Department to report they had the vehicle.
After four days of not getting a response from the Los Lunas police department, Adams notified Valencia County Sheriff’s Detec-tive Rene Rivera to help.
Rivera said although the van had already been taken out of the computer crime files he called Koschmann’s sister, Nancy See-mann, Tuesday afternoon to tell her that the van was at Charlie’s.
Although the person who stole the van has not been identified or caught, Koschmann said he did hear from the sheriff’s department that someone did try and use one of his credit cards on Sunday.
“As I understand it, someone tried to use one of my credit cards at a gas station somewhere down here,” Koschmann said. “When the clerk at the gas station asked to see an I.D., the female who tried to use the credit card just ran.”
Koschmann, who instead of signing the back of his credit cards writes “Check ID,” said the clerk got a vague description of the woman and the man she was with and the vehicle they left in.
After looking through his van, Koschmann said everything was pretty much intact other than damage to his dashboard. The stereo and alarm were missing, the antenna broken off and personal items thrown throughout the van.
“There are a lot of things that are replaceable,” Koschmann said. “Credit cards, checkbooks and the vehicle itself – these are all things that could be replaced. But the thing that relieves me the most is that, as far as I can tell, most of my personal, irreplaceable items are still here such as photographs of friends and family and other mementos.”
He said he’s also grateful to all thepeople who have offered support. He said someone who wished to remain anonymous said he wanted to give him a set of hand controls. Co-workers offered to give him vehicles. He also wanted to thank Charlie’s Paint and Body for waiving the towing and storage fee.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.