Single mom’s van broke down on I-205, stripped by thieves

Multnomah County

Arial Pappas' van was stripped after it broke down Thanksgiving night

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Thanksgiving, Arial Pappas was driving to a friend’s house for dinner when her mini-van broke down on I-205, right off the bridge before Exit 22. Her car’s battery died and she pulled over to the side of the freeway.

She left the van along the shoulder of the highway and made it to Thanksgiving dinner when a friend came and picked her up. Later that night, another friend tried to jumpstart her minivan but it didn’t work.

The next day, Pappas said she called to have the minivan towed. But when the tow truck driver arrived, the van was stripped down to the wheels. She said thieves took the catalytic converter and several other engine parts. Inside the van, the overhead light panel was stolen and the thieves also tried taking the radio.

Thieves stripped Arial Pappas’ minivan of its valuable parts after it broke down on I-205, November 29, 2021 (KOIN)

“They pried the plastic around the radio to try and steal the radio but ended up giving up,” Pappas told KOIN 6 News. “I mean, that’s just life. You have to just take it as it goes and deal with it. So I was more thinking about, like, OK, what’s the next step.”

Pappas, a single mom of a toddler and a 3-year-old, will now have to find a ride to her full-time job. But she’s not letting the financial setback, especially one so close to Christmas, overwhelm her.

“I just have faith that it’s all going to get figured out one way or another,” she told KOIN 6 News.

GoFundMe for Arial Pappas

Portland police officials said more than 1000 vehicles were stolen in October. Though her minivan wasn’t stolen, most of the valuable parts of her car were taken.

Pappas filed a police report but said she doesn’t believe that will do any good.

A friend of hers organized a GoFundMe to help her in some fashion.

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