OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A Johnson County grandmother trying to do the right thing says she was swindled.
When a crying woman said she needed a ride, she offered to help — only to have her van stolen.
For the Pease family it was more than a van. They saved for three years to get the beige 1999 Town & Country. It might seem like a modest purchase, but the family said they had three other cars die before this one, and with five kids in a mixed family that third row was a huge help.
“It was with a lot of what we had saved, which wasn’t much, but we put all our wedding money into it,” Christine Pease said about their family van.
Pease said she was shopping at the Dollar Tree at 199th and Metcalf on Tuesday around 4 p.m. when she said a woman seemed distressed in the parking lot.
“She was kind of pacing, and then she says,’Ma’am could you give me a ride?’ I felt bad because I heard her conversation, and I said, ‘Yeah I guess I could,'” Pease said.
The woman told her she needed a ride to 103rd and State Line. Pease agreed to help the woman and said she needed to get gas.
“She was crying and shaking and all upset, and then she said she was cold, so I put the heater on for her,” Pease said.
She said she stopped at the 7-Eleven at the 107th and Metcalf. Pease said she left the car for just a minute when the woman took off.
“Oh my God, she stole my car!” Pease said. “The kids’ car seats, all the presents I’d just bought, and most of all the van.”
Pease said all she was trying to do was help.
“I thought you always hear pay it forward,” Christine said. “Help someone.”
Now the family is scrambling to get around and isn’t able to replace it.
“I would definitely say never give anybody a ride,” Pease said. “Try to help them some other way, but never let anybody in your vehicle. It’s not worth it to take a chance on your life.”
“We’re not asking for anything to be replaced,” her daughter-in-law Ann Pease said. “Car seats we can figure out. We can borrow until I get back to work. We would just like the vehicle back.”
Christine said she’s devastated her act of kindness came with consequences for the whole family.
“I’m just devastated with what they’ve done,” Christine said. “She’s done. It’s my fault now that my family is suffering because of me trying to be kind to someone.”
Overland Park police say they’re looking for the van, but haven’t been able to recover it at this time. Pease said the woman was white, about 30 years old with shoulder-length brown hair. She was wearing a blue hoodie and had a stud piercing on her left cheek.