Thieves steal from Can Do Canines on Christmas Eve in New Hope, Minn.

On Christmas Eve, someone stole all four tires off a minivan while it was parked in the parking lot of Can Do Canines in New Hope, according to a news release. The van belongs to the nonprofit, which provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities at no charge.

The van is used to transport dogs to the veterinarian or to adopt homeless dogs from local shelters.

“It's the one vehicle we use all the time,” Can Do Canines founder and executive director Al Peters said. “We use it for shelter shopping, looking for dogs at the shelters that we might use to become assistance dogs, we use it for moving dogs up and back from the veterinarians.”

This year alone, Can Do Canines provided 50 assistance dogs across the metro to those in need, including people who are deaf or hard of hearing, kids with autism and people with seizure disorders or type 1 diabetes.

Each dog is a $25,000 investment, but is provided to their new owner free of charge.

The theft set Peters back at least $800 and threw a wrench in his plans to provide 56 assistance dogs to those on the waitlist next year.

“This is diverting dollars that would otherwise be training assistance dogs for people who need them,” Peters said.

Peters believes the van was simply an easy target for someone with a minivan that needs tires. Whoever took the tires left behind several carjacks, which Peters says he is willing give back in exchange for his stolen wheels.

Anyone who has information about this theft should call the New Hope Police Department at (763) 531-5170 or Al Peters at apeters@can-do-canines or by cell phone at 612-597-8444.