FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A former Madera County firefighter, who spent years helping his community, has been spending the last few months living out of his car.
As Ruben Larragoitiy was taking action to bounce back from several hardships, his car was recently stolen with his German Shepherd inside.
Looking at him -- it's hard to believe Larragoitiy is unhoused and living out of his car.
However, the clothes on his back are donated. He appears clean-shaven because he showers at Planet Fitness in northwest Fresno.
On the night of March 26, he said he left the gym and found his car broken into.
"I found my trunk open, and my ice chest missing and my fuse box," recalled Larragoitiy. "So, I thought to myself, 'That's interesting.'"
He left the parking lot to go to a nearby police station. While driving, Larragoitiy thought he saw his ice chest near a dumpster off Shaw and Brawley avenues.
According to Larragoitiy, a man nearby told him he knew who took his items and to come back in 10 minutes.
Action News reporter Amanda Aguilar asked Larragoitiy why he believed the man.
"It's not that I believed him, when I thought I saw my items there, I came back," he responded.
Larragoitiy went on to say that he believes it was a setup.
When Larragoitiy came back, his missing items were on the ground. However, when he got out to collect them, someone snuck up behind him and hopped in his car, and started to drive away.
"As I was holding onto him, I slipped off of him, grabbed my car, dragged me about 15 yards," Larragoitiy said.
He added that when he let go of the car, the suspect drove the car over a curb and sidewalk, and headed westbound onto Shaw Avenue toward Brawley.
Larragoitiy's 13-year-old German Shepherd named Dodger was inside the car with the suspect.
"When it hits you, you're just overcome with emotions of loss and I hope he's okay," said Larragoitiy.
He reported the carjacking to Fresno Police Department, which found his car and Dodger around 3 a.m. the next day.
Dodger wasn't injured, but everything inside Larragoitiy's car was gone.
"My paperwork, my documents. My mom passed away last year, all the valuables I received from the funeral home, everything is gone," said Larragoitiy.
Fresno Police arrested 38-year-old Larry Petrosian. He was charged with carjacking, kidnapping, appropriating lost property, and shoplifting.
According to police, Petrosian was released the same day he was arrested.
Larragoitiy said he's upset about the release, but he can't dwell on it for too long.
He spent this week training with CalTrans, so he can begin volunteering for the Adopt-A-Highway program -- which pays up to $250 per month, according to the website.
Larragoitiy only has $11 cash in his wallet and a few donated clothes inside his trunk.
Despite it all, he is pushing through this tough time. He remains hopeful as he takes steps to get back on his feet.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Larragoitiy as he works to recover.
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