HOUSTON (KTRK) --A Houston man who hasn't taken a trip in years went out of town to visit a dying uncle, only to have his small business shut down by thieves while he was away.
Gabriel Ortiz runs Professional Landscaping and Lawn Service. While he was away this week, someone used bolt cutters to open storage units at the Great Value Storage on the 5800 block of North Houston Rosslyn Road, Ortiz said.
Among the items taken were riding lawnmowers, push lawnmowers, weed-eaters, trailers and more. The items were valued at $60,000, the Ortiz family said.
Anabel Esparza, Ortiz's daughter, filed a police report and tried to get information from the storage company but says she hasn't had much success in trying to track down the equipment.
"You just feel crushed, you know? Invaded that someone can take it away in just a few minutes," Esparza said.
A Houston Police Department spokesman said they are investigating the theft at Great Value Storage but don't have any suspect information yet.
A man who identified himself as a manager at that storage location said he had no comment on how thieves were able to get inside or why no surveillance video was available.
Ortiz said he just wants his equipment so he can continue to do his job.
"It's how he was able to feed his family since we were children," Esparza said.
Family members and set up a GoFundMe account so Ortiz can buy new mowers.
Esparza said her father is a workaholic and it was his lawn business that put her and her three siblings through school.
"With this kind of small business I support them to continue in school," Ortiz said.
Faced with this major setback, Ortiz is determined to work. He is now trying to temporarily borrow mowers to keep his business going.
"It's not crushing him inside. It's given him strength that no matter what, he's going to do it. No matter what he's going to build this again," Esparza said.
At 62 years old, faced with starting his business over, Ortiz is not giving up.
"He is determined. He fought through a language barrier to start this business," Esparza said. "He makes me proud."