UPDATE: Ruiz wrote in to tell us the band, thanks to a tip, has recovered the van. The interior was damaged and merchandise and gear are still missing. "The van will need repairs," writes Ruiz. "But the van is home."
"Downey Police forensics have recovered prints, and footage of the thief from the location where he abandoned the vehicle," continues Ruiz. "They chose to pursue the investigation, in support towards the Lynwood Sheriff's department."
Members of Lynwood act La Resistencia had about the crappiest Christmas morning you can imagine this year.
The skacore band has a recording and rehearsal space in Lynwood, where they normally keep their touring van off the street. On Christmas Eve, however, they moved the van to accomodate a neighbor's Christmas party. "It's only gonna be there a few hours," reasoned La Resistencia drummer Clemente Ruiz.
When Ruiz went to retrieve the van at 3 a.m. on Christmas morning, however, it was gone.
A nearby building's security camera revealed what had happened. In the video, later posted by the band on YouTube, a man in a hoodie and his female companion approach the van. The man leans over the passenger side door, apparently jimmying the lock, before he and his accomplice open the door and drive away.
Despite that evidence, however, the band has been stymied. They filed a report with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, but they have yet to hear from an investigator.
"The police, I've been calling them," says Ruiz. "I doubt they'll find it anytime soon unless it gets ticketed or something."
On the video, the female accomplice smokes a cigarette. Ruiz visited the Shell gas station in the area (the only place open that time of night, he says) and talked to the attendant, who remembered the couple from the video buying cigarettes.
Before Ruiz can see the surveillance video from the gas station -- which could possibly give a much clearer shot of the man and woman's faces -- he needs the help of a sheriff's investigator. As best he can tell, one has yet to be assigned to the case.
"I have to hope that it's worth the investigators time to go after that footage," says Ruiz. "They might have more serious things, which is understandable. Murder or rape has to come before a theft."
"The matter is, whatever is stolen we will do our very best to recover it, and we have a high success in doing that," Sheriff's Spokesman Steve Whitmore tells the Weekly. "We understand their impatience, and we ask that they work with us and not against us." (At Whitmore's suggestion, the Weekly also contacted the Sheriff's Department's Lynwood station; we'll update this post if they have comment.)
Frustrated by the lack of police response, the band has turned to the Internet in hopes that someone recognizes the thieves. The video they posted on YouTube racked up nearly 4,000 views in one day, while Internet sleuths on Reddit's r/losangeles board started breaking down the footage.
Some have already reached out with offers of equipment, and there's been at least one person claiming to know who did it. "We did receive a tip," said Ruiz, saying the tipster sent them a Facebook profile link. "But then again, I can't move forward on my own. I have to wait for the investigator." Ruiz added he has no idea whether the tip is legitimate or not, and is eager to hear from others who may know more.
In the mean time, La Reistencia is unsure what they'll do in the near future. In addition to stolen gear, the band lost merchandise: "We had just 100 t-shirts printed, and that's all gone." The van was also used by many in the local music scene and by bands visiting from Mexico City, who will now need to find alternate transport.
While they'll continue to record their new album, the group may have to cancel some shows. "We don't even know how we're gonna do it," says Ruiz. "We're gonna have to cancel dates if the van doesn't turn up."
"It was a nice van," said Ruiz. "We didn't even let people smoke in it."
If you know anything about the crime, you can call the Sheriff's Department Lynwood station at (323) 568-4800. The white Ford Econoline van's license plate number is 4YHB748. If you want to contact the band directly, you can email xmasThieves@gmail.com