'We got a lot of new surprises' - Stolen food bank van found full of random items
AUBURN, Wash. -- The Auburn Food Bank has its stolen van back, but it returned with some surprises. The white Dodge van was stolen a week ago Monday after the thief broke into a lock box at the food bank and stole the van’s keys.
When it was taken, there was nothing inside except empty bread racks, says the food bank’s director, Debbie Christian.
Kent police officers spotted people gathering around a van at the corner of Meeker Street and Washington Avenue on Friday. Things looked suspicious, so the officer parked near the van and ran its plate.
It was the stolen food bank van.
“Police tell me they found two people with it and apparently they were giving up a few other names,” says Christian. Auburn police saw an arrest was made.
But when Christian went to pick of the van Tuesday from a storage lot where police had it impounded, she discovered a surprise: The van was stolen empty but it was full of stuff when Debbie picked it up and brought it back to the food bank.
There were three bikes, a hot dog griller – the kind you’d find at a convenience store -- an air fryer, stage lighting, a drum, water filters, a Surface Pro, backpacks, women’s make up and toiletries. Apparent gang symbols had been written inside.
“We got a lot of new surprises," says Christian looking at all the gear. "We have all this stuff, but they kept the bread racks.”
Unfortunately, she can’t keep the stuff.
“Nope, this is all going back to the evidence room in the city,” says Christian.
But why is it still in the van?
“Because they don't have enough room at the police department to put it all away,” says Christian.
A spokesperson for the Auburn Police Department is looking into the reason why apparent evidence of a crime is in the hands of the food bank.
"It would be nice to use it for pickups again,” says Christian. The food bank has two other trucks to make runs and was using a borrowed van from an Auburn dealership to replace the stolen one.
Police are trying to determine if the items inside the van were stolen. The thought of benevolent thieves was too good to be true.