Restored Ford F250 That Late Grandfather Gifted to ‘Make-a-Wish’ Teen Stolen in Chicago

Update: After the heartfelt appeal of the Watson family, authorities have recovered Jake Watson’s beloved Ford F250. A tow truck reunited Jake with his full-size pickup truck after an anonymous call led to the recovery, WGN 9 said. “I honestly think this is God working his magic and he just wanted me to have my stuff back,” said Jake. His faith seems restored following the ordeal and the Watson family is grateful to have the truck back.

Jake Watson’s Grandfather gave him a cherry 2002 Ford F250 full-size pickup after a tough time in his life. Jake, diagnosed with a rare blood disorder when he was young, was a Make-a-Wish participant before receiving the beloved truck. The unthinkable happened after all of that family turmoil: someone stole the Ford F250 his late grandfather gifted to him.

Jake’s Ford F250 is not just another truck

Chicago Ridge’s teen’s Make-a-Wish truck stolen | WGN9

The bright red Ford F250 is no ordinary truck. Jake’s F250 belonged to his late grandfather, and when Jake himself was in hardship, he found strength in the treasured vehicle. When he was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, Jake wanted to see the Ford F250 restored to its former glory. The Make-a-Wish foundation came to the young man’s aid. “That was my only wish,” Jake said in an interview with News 5 Chicago. “The only thing that I wanted.”

The Foundation had the truck restored, and the result was fantastic. The family F250 sat proudly with bright red paint, a straight body, and a lift kit. “To some people, vehicles are just pieces of metal – but to me – that was part of me,” Jake told News 5 Chicago.

The Ford trucks from the early 2000s are notoriously for being stolen

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Unfortunately, thieves steal the Ford trucks of that generation with frequency. According to an interview with Jake, video cameras caught thieves stealing the Ford F250 in less than one minute. In fact, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) lists the early-2000’s full-size Ford pickups as some of the most stolen vehicles in America. According to the NICB, thieves made off with around 44,014 full-size Ford pickups. That means that 2020 saw an increase in thefts of 13% just in the Ford pickup trucks. 

Restored Ford F250 full-size pick up Late Grandfather Gifted to ‘Make-a-Wish’ Teen Stolen in Chicago
Ford | Getty Images

If you or anyone you know has any information leading to the recovery of the truck, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the authorities

According to News 5 Chicago, a thief stole Jake’s Ford F250 while the truck was parked in the Wintrust Sports Complex in Bedford Park. Jamie Watson, Jake’s mother, also had some heartbreaking sentiments to share about the red F250. “There was a Make-A-Wish book in [the] back of the truck that they had to have seen,” said Jamie in the interview. “It shows pictures of it rusted out when it was my dad’s – and the ending, so they know.”

The Watson family has pleaded with the thieves and the community for the safe return of the family truck. If anything, a family would just like to have their beloved truck returned safe and sound.

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