AURORA, Colo. — A Colorado veteran, who has been operating his own welding business for several years, now has to put everything on hold.
Thieves were caught on surveillance stealing from John Kittleson, and the Aurora Police Department said they're investigating the circumstances.
"I had to call all my customers and let them know that, until further notice, all jobs are on hold," Kittleson said.
In the surveillance video captured around 7 a.m. on Tuesday, two men appear to gain entry into the truck and drive away within minutes.
"They used some tool to get in the door, and then they hot wired the ignition and took off." Kittleson said.
He estimated he lost around $45,000 in property with the truck and the tools inside.
"I'm heartbroken," Kittleson said.
Kittleson served in the United States Marine Corps from 2007 to 2012 and afterwards decided to start his welding business, Raptor Welding.
"I had some trade skills, and I started, really, from nothing — saved up my money and started on the weekends — and once I built up enough business, that was it," Kittleson said. "I was really emotional after 9/11, and I think everyone wants to feel like they're making a difference in the world."
Through his welding business, he partners with the state to employ disabled veterans, some who have faced homelessness or been incarcerated.
"A lot of disabled veterans get left behind," Kittleson said.
Kittleson said he's now hopeful the community will help locate his truck, and he can recoup some of his losses with insurance.
"At this point, if they brought it all back I'd buy them a beer, like no hard feelings. It'd be such a sense of relief," Kittleson said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Kittleson in the interim while he is unable to work.