Thieves steal church's van and children's Christmas gifts

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - The hunt is on to find the thieves behind a dirty crime.  Not only did they steal a van from a church, but they also took presents meant for underprivileged children.  

Dave Moore has a tale to tell about a real life "Grinch Who Stole Christimas" at the Beth-El Ministry in Wimauma.  It starts Wednesday morning.

Dave says when he came in to work and didn't see the cargo van, he wasn't all that worried at first, but after checking with staff and volunteers, the van was still MIA, so he checked the church's surveillance cameras.

"We know that the van left heading straight ahead of us toward Highway 301," said Moore.

The grinch didn't just get away with the van, Dave says the thief also stole nearly a dozen kid's Christmas, taking 10 bicycles that were donated for farmworker's families.

"They're lucky in many cases to have food on the table so a bicycle is way beyond the means of the families we support," said Moore.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is investigating, but detectives say they haven't received any tips and don't have much to go on.

Now, without the van, the church can't pick up any donations for it's members, and without the bikes, Dave says the kids won't have anything under the tree, but in the true spirit of the holiday, the church only asks one thing of the grinch.

"They would feel it in their heart to certainly bring the van back, bring the bicycles back, we would not ask questions at that point, we would ask  that our Lord and Savior forgive them for this act," said Moore.

To help, you can contact Beth-El Farmworker Ministries at 813-633-1548.

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