The Summerville Police Department first got the call on May 13 regarding a stolen passenger van. The Ford E-350 had a U.S. Government license plate and was emblazoned with decals from a charity used by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
It could be assumed that the van’s obvious lack of inconspicuousness would be enough to deter potential thieves. But after being parked by a VA volunteer at the Dorchester Career Building in Summerville, a subject or subjects, decided to throw caution-to-the-wind and steal the vehicle used to transport disabled veterans.
More still, the van was also equipped with a GPS device that records all of its past movements. Police said they discovered the van started to move out at 1:30 a.m. on May 11. Then police said multiple pings happened throughout that weekend.
The GPS data showed the van sat for several hours on Old Georgetown Rd, in Mt. Pleasant. Police said the final GPS signal pinged in Charleston County on State Highway 162, in Hollywood just before 6 a.m. on May 12.
Police with the Summerville Police Department contacted deputies in Charleston County to see if the vehicle could be located and it was found—stripped and spray painted. Police in Summerville said there have been no arrests in the case by the department.
An unfortunate crime considering the van is a part and a tool for a charity, the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Transportation Network. Last year, DAV’s Transportation Network in Charleston provided over 7,000 rides to veterans at no cost to them, and volunteer drivers covered more than 20,000 miles.
The vehicle can transport 12 passengers and it will cost just over $36,000 to replace. At this time only $2,500 has been raised.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is asking those who want to donate to help with the replacement there is a DAV website they can visit.