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Police find family’s stolen van used for special needs brothers

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FRANKLIN SQUARE, N.Y. — A Franklin Square man took to social media to try and locate the wheelchair accessible van his family so heavily relies on.

"We would not be able to go on any trip more than about a half hour just basically for comfort and the fact of storage," explained Rob Gasperetti.

The van was stolen from the family's driveway in Franklin Square Tuesday morning.

Rob and Kristin Gasperetti dedicated their lives to their children.

Two of their boys in particular are ones who are given special attention. Both suffer from a rare central nervous system disorder, similar to cerebral palsy, called Pelizaeus–Merzbacher disease.

Due to their conditions, the family needs this special van because it's customized for the children's needs.

"It's a fatal disease, but they're doing very well. They cannot speak. They cannot eat or sit unassisted, but they are very cognizant of what they're doing," Gasperetti said.

Police recovered the van in Valley Stream after receiving a tip.

The van had damage to the ignition. The $1,800 wheelchair in the vehicle was still there.

Both the van and wheelchair were returned to family Wednesday afternoon.

The Nassau County police commissioner says they're still working on leads and trying to track down who could have stolen the van.

Investigators are hoping to collect forensic evidence from the stolen van.

In the meantime, Nassau County residents are warned there is an uptick in the theft of these kinds of vehicles.