Detroit charity's van stolen, wrecked

Cass Community Social Services loses vital piece to operation

By Jason Colthorp - Anchor/Reporter

DETROIT - It was about 2:40 a.m. Tuesday when a thief stole a Chrysler minivan from the fenced-in Cass Community Social Services lot.

Security video shows just how desperate he was to get the van.

"He sped up through the gate. Ran out about the fourth section, down the curb, up the next curb, down the curb, up the next curb. Took out a stop sign," said Rev. Faith Fowler.

The vehicle turned up the next day but, unfortunately, in bad condition. It may have had 250,000 miles on it, but for Cass it was very valuable.

"We used it all the time -- morning, day and night. To pick up food, to deliver projects we're constructing, deconstructing ... so it was almost a joke between the staff: 'Who's got the keys, 'cause I need the van,'" said Fowler.

Rev. Fowler said there are 320 homeless people living in their buildings. They serve one million meals a year to them and the less fortunate. She's saying a prayer for a four-wheeled donation, and it doesn't even have to be from this century.

"It doesn't matter what year, what color, what make, model. If it runs, it's the right vehicle," she said.

As for the man who stole the van:

"You have to be pretty desperate to run a vehicle through a fence," said Fowler. "He has some other things going on in his life and I just hope, you know, he gets a chance to deal with them."

Fowler said the whole charity staff is chipping in with their own vehicles, but no one has a van.

For more information on Cass Community Social Services, visit its website.

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