Both vehicles were to be offered at a charity auction.
Car theft isn't something that can ever be condoned, but some cases are worse than others, and this one scrapes the bottom of the barrel. Two custom vehicles have been stolen from the Austin Hatcher Foundation, a charity organization benefitting children with cancer, and police in Chattanooga, Tennessee, are asking people to be on the lookout for them.
The 2019 Jeep Wrangler kitted out by Rugged Ridge and 2018 Ford Explorer Sport were being kept at the foundation's warehouse prior to going to a charity auction in Scottsdale, Arizona in January next year. The foundation's previous project, a HURST Jeepster Commando build, raised a total of $225,000.
If your heart isn't breaking already, the vehicles were built and outfitted by pediatric cancer patients and their families as part of the foundation's industrial arts therapy division. The program offers the children the chance to take part in building something cool in a fun, educational environment at no cost to their families.
According to a Facebook post from the Austin Hatcher Foundation, thieves tore through a fence, damaged a number of vehicle parts, and destroyed a transport trailer when looking for the keys to the vehicles. Understandably, the foundation, as well as the children and families involved, are devastated and heartbroken by the theft and vandalism.
While the vehicles are insured, the International Motorsports Association (IMSA) reports that the foundation will only be compensated for the base vehicles, and not the aftermarket parts that were installed by the children. The insurance also won't cover the amount of money the vehicles could have potentially raised for the foundation. The foundation is, understandably, doubtful that the vehicles will be sellable if recovered.
The Chattanooga Police Department has given the phone number (423) 698-2525 for anyone with information to call. The Austin Hatcher Foundation also has two fundraisers, one through Facebook and the other at GoFundMe.com.