Phoenix man fears he's being watched after his van was stolen and used in DPS chase

Posted at 5:10 PM, Apr 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-25 22:07:20-04

The owner of a van that was stolen and then involved in a chase involving Department of Public Safety officers is speaking in hopes that someone will come forward with information.

Ryan Lewis and his wife reported the van stolen on Monday, April 17, after his wife made a quick stop at the Fry's Food store on 35th and Peoria avenues.

"She comes walking out and she sees the van pulling away," Lewis said. "She watched it go around the parking lot before it headed down Peoria.  She texted me and said 'The van's been stolen' and I'm like 'Seriously?'"

Phoenix Police searched for the van, but weren't able to recover it.

Two days later, on April 19, DPS spotted the van and followed it. During the incident, a DPS trooper was injured and the driver sped off.

The Lewis' were notified that their van had been found — but they weren't told about the chase. Shortly after, Lewis saw a story on ABC15 which involved a DPS pursuing a white van, which looked strikingly similar to his.

"I thought wouldn't that be interesting if that were ours, and so I clicked on it and watched the video and was like 'Wow, it's ours!'" Lewis said.

The van was returned in shambles. It had been wrecked more than once, tire flattened and the inside was trashed with cigar ashes all over.

"It was just total disrespect and it makes you feel...just angry." Lewis said.

As the Lewis' were cleaning the van they discovered a woman's sweater and a shoebox with more evidence.

"We've got a pair of flip flops, a wallet completely emptied, could be stolen and then we found the picture — the plot thickens," Lewis said.

The photo appears to be a Snapchat photo of a teenage girl.

But what has Lewis most concerned is what his neighbor saw around 2:30 a.m. 

"He spotted a Monte Carlo pulling into the cul-de-sac, driving with his headlights off, pulled in front of our house," Lewis said. "So right away we know they likely have our address from the registration and our garage door opener."

Lewis had his locks changed and said he quickly called to inform Phoenix Police and DPS of the suspicious activity.

"I have five kids here and I'm not fooling around and taking any chances when it comes to their safety," he said.

DPS told ABC15 they can't comment on the case, but will say it's an ongoing investigation and they are looking into Lewis' findings.