UPDATE, 12/29: Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity says that the truck was recovered in Redmond on Friday.
“It’s a miracle!” TPCHH spokesperson Sherrana Kildun told KIRO 7.
According to Kildun, someone saw the truck on Thursday night and reported it to Tacoma police. Two TPCHH staff members went to check it out the next morning and again notified the authorities.
Officers then went in to investigate and found that its license plates had already been changed by whoever had stolen the truck.
The truck has limited damage and will get serviced soon.
Original story published on Dec. 28:
A South Sound nonprofit is reeling after a Christmas break-in set them back more than $50,000.
The Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity says someone got inside one of their warehouses and stole a box truck they use every day to collect donations.
The group is now asking for the community’s help to get its truck back. The stolen truck was a 2017 Ford 650 box truck that Habitat says it uses every day.
“This is hard,” said Sherrana Kildun, a spokesperson for Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity.
The director of operations, Ed Dobb, said on Christmas Eve morning he got a motion sensor alert. But no other sensors were triggered, so he thought it was a stray animal – which has happened before.
Dobb says it turns out the suspects slashed power to the building, helping hide the heist.
“There are three or four warehouses and all of the power was cut,” Dobb said.
An employee discovered the damage Tuesday morning.
“She realized the truck was missing and another truck vandalized,” Dobb said. “And the alarm pad had been taken.”
He said burglars also stole a truck battery and their commercial gas cards.
“We woke up after the holiday ready to work and serve our community – it’s a blow,” Kildun said.
Tacoma police say Habitat was only one of two businesses burglarized at the warehouses.
“For someone to come in and damage this business and take away from the community – it’s hurtful,” said Tacoma Police Detective William Muse.
Habitat says it recently bought the 2017 Ford 650 box truck for $56,000 and it was so new, no decals were on it yet. Kildun said there was a Habitat for Humanity magnet on the driver’s side door that the suspects likely removed.
The organization says a new truck with similar features would cost $150,000 – something they just can’t afford.
“All of that revenue generated in the stores goes into our construction. Having this stolen from us is just devastating,” Kildun said.
Now some donation pickups have been canceled, slowing down the flow of stuff to their stores, and their work to build homes for people in need.
“It bothers me that we work very hard to support Pierce County. And the thought that that doesn’t matter to some folks - it’s kind of saddening,” Dobb said.
If you see the white box truck with license plate D47708C, you’re asked to call Crimestoppers or Tacoma police.
Another hope? If thieves see this story and realize who they stole from, they’ll just bring the truck back.
“That’s the Christmas miracle we want,” Dobb said.
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