Truck filled with donated books stolen in San Leandro

An East Bay man who started a book drive for his literacy project said his truck was stolen along with hundreds of book donations.  

Despite the theft, he said he won't give up on his passion project because it's about giving back.

Rudy Ortiz said he isn't concerned about getting his truck back, but he wants to continue collecting donated books. 

He credited his professional success to being an avid reader since he was a child.
Now, he wants to help children and teens.

Ortiz pointed to the spot where his truck was parked when the theft occurred.

It's in the gated parking lot of his townhouse complex in San Leandro. 

"That was my initial reaction: First disbelief and then acceptance," said Ortiz. 

He is co-host of the morning show for radio station KBLX. He also works as a stand-up comedian. 

Collecting books for kids is a personal passion. So the theft is no laughing matter. 

"I really do think it boosts kids' confidence and that's priceless. You only get that one chance to build that up in your childhood," said Ortiz.  

He's received donations from many people.

He started the drive which he named 2nd Gift Project last October.  He said there were 500 books in the truck when the vehicle was stolen. His goal was to get 1,000 books.  

Ortiz said he's speaking out about the theft to let people who donated know what happened.

"Although we're making strides, we're back to zero because of what happened with the truck being stolen," said Ortiz.  

His truck was a 2004 black Chevy Silverado with brown-colored panels below the doors on both sides. 

He said it was stolen sometime between the night of January 22nd and the early morning hours of the next day. 

There are surveillance cameras in the lot, but he said none of them work.   
San Leandro police said they have no leads.

"Books are real important to me," said city council member Bryan Azevedo, who pledged his support to Ortiz's project.  

He said he and his father built a little free library on the front lawn of his home where people can pick up and drop off books. 

"We build community," said Azevedo,"Literacy is real important: people able to read and write.

It's real important that people have books."  

Ortiz vowed to continue to collect books to distribute them to schools and hospitals.

"As long as we keep our minds and our eyes on the prize and remember that we are trying to do something for the greater good of the community, I think that's the most important thing."

He asked for book donations appropriate for students from kindergarten to 12th grade. 

New books are preferred but any that are in good condition will be accepted.  
People can drop them off or have them shipped to the address where Ortiz works: 
KBLX 102.9 
2001 Junipero Serra Blvd, Suite 350, 
Daly City, CA 94014

Ortiz can be reached on Instagram @itsrudyortiz or @2ndgiftproject

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU.