Minneapolis church leaders beg thieves to return stolen van

A photo of the maroon van emblazoned with the church's insignia. (Supplied)

After someone stole their van, a Minneapolis church is begging the person responsible to bring it back.

Leaders for the church say the van plays a vital role in their outreach efforts and to lose it so close to Christmas is a heartbreaker.

"So it’s just sad this has happened and just kind of feel bad that people aren’t more caring because we care about them," explained Renee Lucas of Morrison Baptist Church.

Youth minister Renee Lucas admits the missing van has soured the church’s holiday spirit.

"It’s kind of a bummer right now," she said. "We’re pretty busy with Christmas events and to not have the van is too bad."

Morrison Baptist is a small church just off I-94 at the corner of 34th Avenue and 4th Street in Minneapolis. We’re told it’s been home to a congregation for more than 100 years with multiple generations of Renee’s family leading the church in the last few decades.

Their ministry is focused on community outreach to struggling households on the north side, especially the children -- something they desperately need their 15-seat van to accomplish.

"It’s our van," said Renee. "And our kids need it. We need to be able to use it to bring them to church."

Renee and her son Jack reported the van missing to Minneapolis police earlier this week. Jack Lucas explained his family leaves the maroon van with "Morrison Baptist" painted on both sides on 34th Avenue. In fact, it was captured at some point on Google Maps imagery.

But now it’s gone, and Renee keeps the only key. Lucas checked, and there were no winter parking restrictions they violated. The vehicle, that’s also used to bring free bread to needy families on Sunday, wasn’t towed to the impound lot. So, they jumped to the conclusion: It was stolen.

Now, they have a message for the potential thief or thieves: "We would just like for you to bring the van back," Renee pleaded. "We just want it back. We have things to do with it."