SANFORD, Fla. -

Authorities are searching for the culprit who beat up a 70-year-old man trying to stop the vandalism and burglary of a pet rescue transport van, according to Pet Rescue by Judy officials.

According to the Pet Rescue by Judy Facebook page, on Tuesday night, burglars were caught in the act outside of the Sanford Center on Iroqouis Avenue by a neighbor, who heard the commotion and went out to investigate.

Amanda Williams is the office manager and says she believes someone was siphoning gas out of their transport van and the elderly man was trying to stop the crime.

"I guess that's why he came over- becuase he saw them, maybe trying to break in the car," she said.

Sanford police then found the man beaten and unconscious next to the van, and a knife and siphon were a few feet away, according to Pet Rescue by Judy officials. 

Pet Rescue by Judy says the man was hospitalized but his exact condition was not known.

"This man who did nothing but attempt to come to the aid of us and our animals, now lies in a hospital bed suffering. We are attempting to get into contact with his family and offer whatever assistance we might be able to provide," Judy writes on the Pet Rescue by Judy Facebook page. "Please, take a moment today to say a prayer or to send healing thoughts to our "guardian angel."

Sanford police haven't confirmed that a burglary attempt happened and the investigation is ongoing.

"We're not discounting that that in fact happened, we just can't confirm that at this point in time, because we don't know, we don't have any witnesses," said Captain Robert O'Connor.

Police say the man's injuries can be from a single blow, or a fall caused by a medical condition.

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.