Truck stolen just before Indianapolis veteran’s cancer surgery

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 20, 2015)-- A thief stole a truck warming up Thursday morning from in front of a west side home. The truck's owner is a veteran and a cancer patient. It happened as Steve Burgess was preparing to go to the hospital to have a tumor removed. His wife said the heartless crime is making a hard time even tougher.

"He loves that truck," said Linda Burgess.

Ask Linda Burgess, and she'll tell you.

"Goes and gets it washed every day," she said.

Her husband Steve's red 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche is a prized possession of her husband, a former car salesman of 35 years.

"I know he can get another truck, but he wants that truck back," she said.

Friday the truck remained gone, while Steve is on the mend, recovery from a nearly seven hour surgery.

It was around 5 a.m. on Thursday, Linda said. Steve cranked the truck and got it running to head to the Roudebush VA Medical Center downtown, for doctors to remove a tumor. The 68-year-old Air Force Veteran was diagnosed with colon cancer late last year. After months of radiation and chemotherapy treatments, doctors needed to let Steve's body rest before performing the surgery.

Linda said the two were just gathering their suitcases and making one last trip through the house, when they came to the door and found their driveway empty. They'd been up since 4 a.m. She knows the truck was just left idling for a few minutes.

"We panicked. He had to be at the hospital," she said.

Steve took Linda's car to the hospital. She stayed behind and filed a police report. Then an IMPD officer took her to the hospital, with a supervisor's approval. Linda made it there just in time to see her husband before his surgery.

"Of all the stress in our life, for his truck to be taken, how could this happen," she said, "I wasn't sure if they were going to have to cancel his surgery or not. That's how high his blood pressure was."

Linda said she knows it's just a vehicle, but the timing of the theft couldn't be worse.

"I wanted all of me to be there for him, and I have to worry about his truck," she said.

She wants to focus all her energy on her love of 47 years and his recovery, because a missing truck is the last thing Linda needs right now, too.

"I did have a tumor removed, and they didn't get all the cells, so now I'm scheduled to see a radiation oncologist in March," she said.

IMPD confirmed as of Friday night they haven't located the missing truck.

Linda Burgess said her husband should come home from the hospital next week, and she prays it will show up sometime soon.

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