World War II vet, 92, reunited with stolen van

WT Windom, 92, was very happy his stolen van was recovered in Gresham, one day after a KOIN 6 News story about his plight, Aug. 14, 2015 (KOIN Photo)

GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — When WT Windom’s van was stolen sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning, it hit the 92-year-old World War II veteran hard.

“I couldn’t believe it and then it hit me, my truck is gone,” he told WISH-TV’s sister station KOIN on Thursday. He relies on the van to get him to doctors appointments.

Windom’s 1991 light blue Ford Ecoline E350 was stolen from the Berry Ridge Apartments on West Powell Blvd in Gresham.

But he was reunited with his van after a woman who saw the story on KOIN called the station and called Gresham police.

The woman, Teresa Crane, lives at the Powell Valley Farms Apartments in Gresham. She noticed the van in a parking spot when she returned home around 11 a.m. Friday.

KOIN 6 News went to the scene and waited for Gresham police to arrive, who confirmed the plates and description matched the stolen vehicle report filed by Windom, who will turn 93 in September.

When police called to tell him his van was recovered, Windom said, “That’s peachy!” They picked him up and brought him to the Powell Valley Farms Apartments.

As soon as he got out of their car, he looked and said, “That’s it. That’s the Blue Dolphin!”

Windom said he hasn’t been this happy since the day he got married and now he “might make it to 100.”

Police checked the van inside and out and found items that looked like people had been camping in the van — diapers, clothing and garbage.

The van started up and Windom then got in the driver’s seat.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” he said.

Teresa Crane gave him a big hug and a bag of cookies, and said she feels blessed she could help.

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