Veterinarian Recovers Truck Stolen on Christmas Eve, but Not Without Losses

A Christmas wish was fulfilled when the stolen truck was found but there is still more than $100,000 in equipment missing

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A Christmas wish was partially fulfilled last week when a North County veterinarian's stolen truck was found but there more than $100,000 in equipment missing

Fallbrook veterinarian Joleen Elston took inventory of her vehicle after the theft.

“All the needles are gone, but they left the medication at the bottom,” Elston said.

A veterinarian’s truck is affectively a mobile hospital. Elston said thieves are usually looking for drugs used in the care of large animals, such as ketamine, valium and tramado, but in this case, they were left behind.

“I don’t think they realized what they had as far as medication," Elston said. "I felt fortunate for that. It could have been a nightmare."

What was stolen had a far greater value to Elston.

The thief got away with an X-ray and ultrasound machines, as well as dental equipment and other vital tools. Elston estimates that $150,000 worth of equipment was taken.

“It is hard stuff to resell," Elston said. "So I am afraid it's just going to sit in someone’s apartment or just get lost."

The veterinarian's truck and equipment were stolen right out of her garage the morning of Christmas Eve. At the time the seven-month pregnant vet was getting ready to start her day .

“I didn’t get shot, I didn’t get hurt, I am alive, so I have to look at the bright side of everything,” Elston said.

Video captured on a neighbor’s security camera, shows the suspect driving away with Elston's truck. It was found the day after Christmas, ransacked and parked in front of an apartment complex on North Fig Street.

A reward offer posted on social media was shared more than 5,000 times. A good Samaritan who spotted the truck contacted Elston via the post.

Elston said her clients and horse-community members are scouring pawn shops and the Internet for her stolen equipment. The vet said replacing it will be next to impossible. At the very least, it will be a long wait to get her hands on the right equipment.

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