By Michael Abeyta

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A small business owner from Aurora was already working hard to make ends meet during the pandemic. Now, his business might sink because of some opportunistic thieves.

John Kittleson works hard. He’s a former U.S. Marine. After he served, he got a tech job. He grew weary of the corporate world, so he quit to start his own welding business while going to school. He says last year he only took one day off because the pandemic was tough on business.

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John Kittleson (credit: CBS)

“If I’m one thing I’m resilient,” he said.

Tuesday morning, he suffered another huge setback. His work truck with $13,000 worth of tools in it was gone.

“That was absolutely devastating. I’ve worked over the span of many years to accumulate the tools and the resources that I had in that truck.”

(credit: John Kittleson)

Luckily he had a security camera pointed at it. He reviewed the footage and saw it was stolen. Two crooks cased his truck and eventually broke in. He thinks they hotwired it and drive off.

“It was gone in a matter of minutes,” Kittleson said.

Without his truck or his tools, he can’t make any money.

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“Tools are a huge investment, and it’s everything for me to do my job. I’m useless without my tools.”

Plus, the thieves stole from the community. Kittleson works with the State of Colorado to hire veterans down on their luck. No tools means no work for him or anyone else.

“Honestly I’m really not sure what I’m going to do now,” he said.

(credit: John Kittleson)

He’s trying to see of his insurance will cover anything, but it’s not looking promising. He hates asking for help, but aside from calling the police, which he did, it’s all he can do.

So, he’s asking if you see his truck and tools or know the people who took them, call police.

“Now I’m left picking up the pieces,” he said.

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Kittleson has set up a GoFundMe page to help him recoup some of his losses.

Michael Abeyta