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Craigslist theft victim receives presents, cash
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Fernando Gutierrez and two of his nephews are awed with the presents they received from a couple in South Sacramento. - photo by GLENN KAHL

A pair of thieves that stole a wheelchair-bound man’s car he had for sale on Craigslist to provide money for a family Christmas touched the hearts of many in Manteca and as far away as South Sacramento and Napa.

Fernando Guiterrez couldn’t stop smiling Friday evening as he sat near the family Christmas tree with two of his nephews, Alexis, 7 and Julian 3.  They had just been given four small bicycles and about a dozen wrapped toys from Frank and Monica Victoria founders of the Moral Values Program (MVP) in South Sacramento.

A neighbor from down the street on Ridgecrest Drive brought Gutierrez $100 and another couple called the Bulletin with $100 to go to the man to help care for his family.  Gurierrez’ intent was to sell his Honda Civic to ensure a good Christmas for his family members especially for the nieces and nephews aged 3 to 12.

“I’m very thankful,” he said.  “There are definitely good people around the world.  I feel very blessed.”

A former construction worker, he had the misfortune to fall off a second story building nine years ago and sustained spinal cord damage.

Guiterrez’ green Honda Civic that he offered for sale for $2,800 has been recovered by the California Highway Patrol in South Sacramento in a drivable condition. However the cost to get the vehicle out of the tow yard was estimated at $300.

Manteca Police Public Information Officer Jayson Hensley said authorities believe the couple that took the car most likely sold it on the street to a third party.  That person had gone to the Department of Motor Vehicles in South Sacramento and attempted to register the vehicle with it turning up as being stolen on the computer.  Police are continuing their investigation in an effort to locate those responsible for stealing the car.

The South Sacramento group MVP that reached out to Guiterrez is actually a charter-based school that was established in 1994 built upon teaching five core values: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit.  The program currently has 85 children.

The MVP mission includes feeding the children, teaching them core values, helping with homework, getting them to school, washing their clothes, caring for them when they are sick, providing medical attention, even housing them when necessary as a home charter school without government funding.

Friday was MVP’s 17th annual gift give away made possible through community donations both from merchants and private individuals.