The Austin Chronicle

Conspicuous Austin Pets Alive! Transport Van Stolen, Soon Recovered

By Brant Bingamon, January 9, 2024, 12:38pm, Newsdesk

In one of the most boneheaded moves a thief could possibly make, a still-unidentified man trespassed onto the property of Austin Pets Alive!’s Downtown animal shelter yesterday morning around 4am and smashed a bright yellow and orange transport van with APA! logos through the facility’s locked chain link gate.

APA! posted photos of the van to social media after the theft and filed a police report. Developments came swiftly. Dozens reported having seen the van and it was soon found by Austin police officers at a 7-Eleven convenience store on the corner of South Lamar and Barton Skyway. A photo from APA! shows a hole in the van’s driver’s side bumper and torn molding from the collision with the gate. The suspect is still at large.

”The van is now at the shop since it was no longer driving,” APA!’s Luis Sanchez told the Chronicle. “The heartbreaking part is that it was scheduled for animal transports later this week. What that van does is it goes down to South Texas to the shelters there which are under-resourced and don’t have space and it takes dogs that are on euthanasia lists and picks them up and transports them back, either to the APA! or directly to partner shelters across the country.”

Sanchez said they only have two of those vans for their main transport program vans, “so one is a huge loss.”

APA! has sent out surveillance video of the suspect – a bearded white male. “We don’t really know anything about the suspect but I feel like we got a decent footage of him,” Sanchez said. “We’re hoping that it leads to him getting arrested.

“And, of course, the gate is not a cheap gate. They estimated that it would cost about $13,000 to fix it. So unfortunately, now we have to spend this money and time to save a gate when we could be using it to save pets.”

You can donate to APA! on their website.

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