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'It's a lifeline': Custom van used to transport terminally ill boy stolen

Elijah, pictured with his family, relies on the van to be transported anywhere (Met Police)
Elijah, pictured with his family, relies on the van to be transported anywhere (Met Police)

Heartless thieves stole a terminally ill child’s modified van in Hackney, just days before he was due to go on holiday.

The Cariazo family used the grey Ford Transit Custom for their son Elijah who has the rare myotubular myopathy, which makes it difficult for him to breath and swallow.

But the “vital” lifeline was stolen by thieves from outside the family’s home in Haggerston’s Loanda Close on Tuesday.

The stolen van (Met Police)
The stolen van (Met Police)

Devastated mum, Onessa, said: “This is not just a vehicle, it is our road to freedom. Without it, our poor boy cannot see in his final days. Every day is an extension, and we thank God.

"This vehicle cannot be easily replaced and it is his 14 birthday in a few short days.

“We had hoped to take him away with his medical team to enjoy the surroundings of the countryside which he loves so much.

"If you see a vehicle of this colour parked up unattended or don’t recognise it, please report it to the police, it may be nothing, but we need everyone to keep their eyes peeled and thank them in advance, this means so much to our family.”

Elijah had hoped to go away on holiday for the Easter bank holiday (Met Police)
Elijah had hoped to go away on holiday for the Easter bank holiday (Met Police)

The van, which the family use to take the 13-year-old to hospital appointments, cannot be easily replaced as it is customised to Elijah’s medical equipment which he needs to survive.

The family had planned to go away for the Easter long weekend using the van after a deterioration in Elijah’s condition.

CCTV footage shows two men breaking into the car in Loanda Close, before turning left onto Clarissa Street and left again onto Lee Street towards the A10 Kingsland Road.

Detectives said the suspects are two white men, approximately 5 foot 10 and slim build. They were seen wearing black tracksuits and one was wearing a rucksack.

The van has one missing hubcap on the rear right-hand side and has a distinctive sticker for the wheelchair ramp on the back doors.

Sergeant Adam Hunter of the Haggerston Safer Neighbourhood team said: “The Met takes every theft seriously, but this case is of particular concern to us due to the type of vehicle and the time sensitive nature of the investigation.

“Officers are based in the area and are well known within the community.

“They are conducting house-to-house enquiries and trawling through hours of CCTV footage to track down the van, but time is of the essence so we are appealing to the public for any information they may have.”

Anyone with any information is urged to call 101 quoting the 01/141980/24.