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Food & Drink

Beloved Mexican bakery raises $18K in 8 days after theft of van

Juan Carlos Soto, left, and Ernesto Botello, right, pose with their mobile panaderia, Zeledon’s. | Courtesy Zeledon’s

The week after a popular mobile Mexican bakery’s van was stolen and smashed to bits, the business is nearly ready to get back to selling delectable pastries and savory treats. Following an outpouring of support on social media and a successful GoFundMe campaign, which raised over $18,000 in eight days, the owners of Zeledon’s Bakery on Wheels have purchased a new van for their traveling panadería and will soon be roaming the South Bay once more.

Juan Carlos Soto, who runs the bakery with his nephew, Ernesto Botello, told The Standard that he hopes to get back to business—his colorful trays of pan dulce, elote, empanadas and tamales in tow—as soon as Wednesday. 

“We’ve been working hard on everything since the van was gone,” Soto said. “It takes a lot of time.” 

The bakery shared the news that its vehicle had been stolen and destroyed last week via Instagram.

Zeledon’s cultivated a ride-or-die following last summer when the panadería went viral on TikTok. Customers began posting videos of their hot pursuit of the roving sweets shop, which typically doesn’t stay in any one location for longer than an hour. Often, customers rise to the bugle call of “La Cucaracha” when Zeledon’s rolls around. Much like an ice cream truck or produce cart might, Soto and Botello blast the song out of the van’s speakers.

Soto said he credits the bakery’s swift recovery to his loyal customers. Zeledon’s currently has more than 33,000 followers on Instagram.

“We love you guys,” he said. “I’m so happy to go back to work delivering my pan dulce […] soon.”

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