Cleveland - A brazen theft from a nonprofit organization has produced both good and bad news.
The two vans stolen from Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland early December 5th have been recovered, but the vehicles – used to transport Club members to museums, sporting events, parks and colleges – were damaged beyond repair. Both were towed to a police impound lot after being abandoned.
Photos courtesy of Boys and Girls Club Cleveland
On one van, all the exterior identification words and Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland logos were covered with spray paint. In addition, there was significant interior and exterior damage to both vehicles.
BGCC President and CEO Ron Soeder said while the organization will no longer be able to use the recovered vans, it has identified temporary means of transporting kids until the vehicles are replaced. He said the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of the theft has been heartening.
“We are so grateful for all those who came forward to help our kids,” Soeder said.
The offers of help came from:
- Senior Transportation Connection, which is providing the Clubs free use of two of its vans through January. Senior Transportation Connection is a nonprofit that provides comprehensive, efficient and affordable transportation for senior adults in Cuyahoga County;
- Donations from BGCC supporters, whose generosity will help the organization replace the vans early next year. Soeder said while BGCC did not actively seek out donations, it received dozens of offers of help, including a fundraising drive by pupils at a neighborhood school, Metro Catholic; and
- Several corporations that are considering helping BGCC replace the vehicles.
A Cleveland police report said one of the Ford vans was found stuck in a field off Dorver Avenue, west of Warner Road on the city’s southeast side. The engine was still running and the ignition had been punched. Details about the recovery of the other van were not immediately available.
The vans were stolen from a temporary parking spot across from the Broadway Club, 6114 Broadway Ave. during the early morning hours of Dec. 5. They were parked there while construction work was being done in the Club parking lot.
Each day, about 1,000 kids ages 6-18 go to a Club after school.
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