July 4, 2012 in City

Thieves leave care bus damaged

By The Spokesman-Review
Tyler Tjomsland photoBuy this photo

Rob McCann, executive director at Catholic Charities of Spokane, on Tuesday looks out a window knocked out of the Catholic Charities’ Care Cruiser Monday night in Spokane.
(Full-size photo)

A bus used by Catholic Charities for emergencies and community services was broken into and vandalized Monday night.

“It’s disappointing,” Executive Director Rob McCann said in an email Tuesday. “Just when you think you’ve seen everything.”

The Care Cruiser was used as a mobile warming center for the homeless. It is also taken to area schools to educate children on poverty and service learning, and is used by organizations such as the Red Cross as a support vehicle during natural disasters and other crises.

The window was smashed and a flat-screen television, DVD player and radio were stolen. The Care Cruiser, parked right next to Catholic Charities headquarters, was also vandalized; the heating vents were ripped out and holes cut in the seats. Bottled water, blankets, food and other supplies for the homeless were taken.

“I will certainly say a prayer for those who are responsible for this crime, as they must be living lives of great struggle and challenge themselves,” McCann said.

“The people that robbed this are the people we could have served,” he said. “Right in this building is all the services they could have needed. We would have welcomed them with open arms. They were so close. They were two feet from our front door.”

McCann added, “the criminals clearly knew who and what they were robbing and vandalizing.”

The Spokane Police Department did not send an officer to investigate. McCann is hoping publicity about the event will raise awareness and bring forward information on the crime.

A report was taken, but Sgt. Jason Hartman said taking vehicle prowling reports through Crime Check is “standard procedure” because there is a high volume of vehicle prowl calls.

Further, there is often little evidence at such scenes that aids in the investigation, and “it frees us up to taker higher-priority calls,” he said.

In the case of the Care Cruiser, there were no suspects and no witnesses to interview.

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