Mother of disabled child says replacement van, donated by community, has been vandalized

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Victoria Benade, left, thanks the community for its generosity

Victoria Benade.

DENVER — Victoria Benade, who has a disabled child, had her minivan stolen and vandalized last week. Compassionate viewers helped her get a new one. Friday she told us that the new van has been vandalized too.

Benade, who lives in Jefferson County, first shared her story last week when she said her minivan was stolen.

“This is the van outfitted for my daughter Emily, who has Down Syndrome,” said Benade. “I use it for her medical appointments and for her brothers to get to school as well.”

Benade said she could have lost custody of Emily because without the van she would be unable to take Emily to doctors’ appointments and school.

Tuesday, Benade got her van back but found it has been seriously vandalized.

When FOX31 Denver aired Benade’s story, many people called the station wanting to help with free car repair offers and cash donations.

Larry Gieling saw our story and decided to donate a 2001 Honda that he was trying to sell.

“We thought Victoria needs it more than we need the money it might bring, so we decided to let another in the family of God to benefit from a car that served us well,” Gieling said.

However, Friday afternoon Benade emailed us to say “my new van has been vandalized.”

“I cannot tell you the sadness I saw on my children’s faces once more,” she said.

Benade said she contacted the sheriff’s department about the recent vandalism and is looking into putting a security system on it to deter future vandalism.



  • Victoria Benade

    Suspicious, I couldn’t agree more! The only people I know are teachers,doctors, specialists. Though this is getting so strange! In the mean time I will not be staying at my home until after Best Buys install a very intense security system. One other person did say they had there tires slashed just two days after my van was stolen.

  • keven kuzara (@SizzlerHotD)

    I think Cathy meant suspicious in a different way. I’m not here to judge, but either you need to check the kind of friends you have. Or perhaps consider public transportation. I know lots of people with children disables and even paralized children that use the bus system to get to dr appointments. You will not lose your child if you have to take a bus. Community came together and got you a van, and now you are basically working on that sympathy for more donations. Sorry not buying this a 2nd time, reminds me of christmas a couple years ago, where a family living on welfare said there christmas gifts were stolen in a break in. and when the Denver community felt bad for them, asked what kind of gifts were stolen so that they can be replaced. they had Ipads and Laptops. and the community still pitched in and bought these items for that single mom of 4 children. and low and behold. Christmas Eve, they were broken into again and the “Ipads” and Laptops were stolen a 2nd time.

  • Lisa Beatty

    Why pay someone to install a security system that you have to pay a monthly fee for.. I use my foscam (cameras cost $60) they are motion sensor, 2 way microphone, wireless and have nightvision. I get an email with 6 still images once the motion is detected. I can then go on my phone and watch the cameras and change angles… All for $120.

    Best security system there is….

  • Victoria Benade

    Honestly, I never wanted the fact that the van was vandalized to get out. I told Jon I needed to know if he knew who to trust to put in a good security system on the van and specifically said to please not let this get out. As far as taking a bus, I cannot tell you with two kids with a disability and the circumstance of their disabilities how that would not work out. I also told Jon I wanted to do a pay forward with any money. There were also people who said they would fix the old van, but Jon thought it was nice that someone wanted to donate their van. We are very grateful! I don’t know if the person who stole it thought it would be funny to come back or what. I only have one very close friend who is the sweetest person I know. I don’t have time for a social life, so I doubt it’s personal. It has been on the news and not too difficult to know I had another van. I had also already got into contact with organizations who work with the disabled who were going to help me get a small loan at low interest and buy a van through Good Neighbor Garage. But I remember that day when I was so annoyed that someone would do that, I emailed Fox and said something like, “Someone stole my daughter’s van who has down syndrome which was donated to her by the Arc, who would do that!” I was just venting because I was so upset. I didn’t know it would turn into all of this. I didn’t even begin to fathom they would contact me. Though I was very touched when people were being so kind and truly appreciated each act of kindness. There are a lot of good people in Colorado and it is not my intention to take advantage of their acts of kindness. I cannot thank them enough!

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