Grandmother pleas for thief to return family SUV
Four kids are back home in Alabama after the SUV they were traveling in was stolen from a convenience store last Thursday.
It was supposed to be a vacation to visit family, but it turned into a week-long mission to try to find a way home.
"Everything we own was in the truck," the children's grandmother June Branch explained. "These people don't know what they've done. Basically put these kids through hell with nothing."
June and her five grandchildren left Russellville, Alabama last Wednesday for Lakeland.
Hours after they arrived, her son took their 2007 Chevrolet Suburban to run an errand, and it was stolen.
June filed a report with the Polk County Sheriff's Office, and June's daughter-in-law posted pictures of the SUV on Facebook.
Since Monday, the Suburban has been spotted throughout Polk County, but no one has been able to stay with it long enough for law enforcement to arrive.
June said, whoever is now driving it, removed the Alabama license plate and replaced it with a Florida temporary tag.
"It was spotted at Winn Dixie in Winter Haven on Havendale with a paper tag on it, and they assured us that is was the same vehicle because it has the 'Adam Rue Auto Sales' from Alabama on it," June said.
The children's dad drove down from Alabama Wednesday afternoon. He picked the kids up and brought them back Thursday.
A church provided them with car seats to get them home, but June feels like she ruined their vacation.
She hopes to get the SUV back and return to Alabama and has this message for the driver: "Just stop. Put the keys in the vehicle, call somebody and say the vehicle's location. They'll never even know who you were. If you just stop, put the keys in the glove box, lock the door, and just walk away."