CHATTANOOGA, TN (WSMV) - Police in Chattanooga are searching for a suspect or suspects who stole two vehicles from the Austin Hatcher Foundation over the weekend.
The vehicles, a 2018 Ford Explorer Sport and a 2018 Jeep Wrangler, were built and outfitted by pediatric cancer patients and their families as part of the foundation's industrial arts therapy division.
The no-cost program "gives children a chance to perform occupational therapy in a fun, educational environment" and promotes "team-building, improved concentration and coordination, and more."
The vehicles were to be sold at auction to raise funds for the nonprofit's programs. The President of the Austin Hatcher Foundation, Amy Jo Osborn, said the thief or thieves damaged the vehicles when they stole them leaving a trail of destroyed car parts behind.
“We are completely devastated by this horrible theft,” said Osborn, “These cars had a lot of hard work and love put into them by our patients, and we’re heartbroken to see the wreckage left behind by whoever stole these vehicles. Even if the police find the vehicles, we probably won’t be able to use them as fundraisers as we’d planned. This is truly a huge loss.”
The foundation's previous auto build project, a 2017 HURST Jeepster Commando, sold at auction earlier this year for $225,000.
Anyone with information regarding the location of these vehicles should call the Chattanooga Police Department at (423) 698-2525.