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SAN JOSE – The Ayalas hadn’t quite given up hope, but the call was still a shock.
Longtime San Jose residents Juana Quiroz Ayala and Francisco Ayala were devastated last month after their Adelita food truck was stolen from a gas station parking lot near Berryessa.
For four weeks they waited in vain, thinking that they might never see the truck again. But when they were getting ready for breakfast Monday morning, the San Jose police called: The trailer had been found in a small outpost off Interstate 5 in Merced County.
The police hooked the trailer to one of their vehicles to drive it home – and within a few hours Adelita’s was back in San Jose.
“We’re feeling good, really good,” Ayala said in Spanish on Wednesday. “Adelita is not the same, but … it gave us a little peace.”
The food truck had been missing for about a month since thieves took it on the night of September 13th. When the truck was in its usual place in a gas station parking lot in Berryessa and Capitol, two men hopped out of the white van ;; While one served as a lookout, the other manipulated Adelita’s trucks to drive away. This is evident from surveillance cameras of the incident.
For the past five years, the duo brought Adelita together and sold fresh quesadillas, tostadas and burritos in the South Bay. It was a big step for the family; Previously, the Ayalas had cleaned their houses to make a living. And while the pandemic wiped out some of their income, customers came back recently.
The loss left her struggling to make ends meet – let alone build her children’s college funds. They set up a GoFundMe to get back some of the $ 70,000 they spent on the truck and were blown away by the $ 55,000 they have been given in support since then.
At least $ 18,000 of that will go towards repairing the truck, Ayala said. Those who stole it repainted it and removed parts of the interior, removing the lights and parts of the fuel system. There was also damage to the outside of the trailer, according to San Jose Police Sgt. Christian Camarillo.
No arrests were made and the SJPD said it was still looking for the suspects.
Within the next three weeks, the couple plan to resume business with a truck that a supporter in Texas promised them after reading this news organization’s coverage of their story. However, it will be at least another six or seven months for the Adelita’s trailer to return to its original state.
“I feel stronger now. What we went through made me feel like I couldn’t give up, ”said Quiroz Ayala. “The dream that my husband and I had – the church that treated him was theirs too.”