Bristol man pays out £1,000 reward as Ford Transit van found
A BUSINESSMAN was true to his word when he handed over a £1,000 reward for the return of his stolen van.
The branded Ford Transit belonging to Alternative Advertising in Portbury was taken after an employee left the keys inside as he popped into the business office on the Sheepway. It was found two days later, undamaged and with all its valuables still inside.
Two white men wearing caps and hoodies drove off in the vehicle after casing the premises. The incident was caught on CCTV.
Alternative Advertising's owner John Grant feared he would never see the van – which he bought for £9,000 - again. And when he told his insurance company how it was taken, he was told he would not be reimbursed.
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Mr Grant then posted an appeal on the social networking website Facebook, offering a £1,000 reward.
Two days later, Julian Thomas, 44, was browsing Facebook and noticed someone had posted the appeal on their page.
It immediately rang bells for him, as a van like the missing one had been parked outside his house on nearby Priory Road.
Mr Thomas, known as Tosh, said: "I thought 'I know that van – it's the one outside my house'."
He called Mr Grant, who was driving in area at the time and directed him to where it was.
Mr Thomas said: "He was getting really excited, saying 'I hope it's there, you've made my day if it is'."
When asked about the reward, the married father-of-three who runs Indigo Home Improvements, said: "We've got a family holiday to the south of France booked this summer, so the reward will go towards that."
Grateful and relieved Mr Grant, who has four vans in total, said: "The van was parked on our property about 6ft from our front door. The thieves walked into the yard and had a look round, as brash as can be, jumped into the van and sped off.
"I never thought I'd get it back. I found the keys in a nearby hedge and when I opened it and found nothing had been stolen, I couldn't believe it.
"There was a sat nav on the dashboard and a £200 DeWalt drill in the back.
"They must've been spooked for some reason and decided to dump the van. This may have cost me the £1,000 reward, but I would have been £9,000 out of pocket if the van hadn't been found."
Avon and Somerset police are appealing for information about the thieves, who are both thought to be in their 30s. One of them had a large black image on the back of his jacket. Anyone with information should call the police on 101.