Hope’s only public wheelchair-accessible vehicle stolen

More than 300 clients left in lurch after volunteer group discovers van stolen

A vehicle known for “giving the community a lift,” has been lifted by a thief.

The Hope Care Transit van is missing, and its owners are hoping to find it returned safe and sound as soon as possible.

Ed Thomas, chairman of the board for Hope Care Transit, says the theft has everyone heartbroken. The van was last seen by volunteers on Saturday at about 4 p.m. When they arrived to the office on Monday morning, they discovered it was missing.

Thankfully, he says, they had no planned trips for the day. The Hope Care Transit team has the only public wheelchair vehicle in the community, and they provide service for Hope, Fraser Canyon and Boston Bar.

In total, Thomas says, they have about 350 clients. Not all use wheelchairs, but they are also a service that provides rides for medical appointments and treatment as far as Surrey and UBC.

“The HandyDart doesn’t come here,” he says. “There isn’t even a wheelchair accessible taxi in town.”

To make matters worse, the Hope Care Transit team operates on donations and grants, as well as volunteer efforts.

The missing van has been registered as stolen with the Hope RCMP. The silver Dodge Caravan has a visible wheelchair lift, and has the phrase “Giving the Community a Lift” printed on the tailgate, along with wheelchair stickers. Their Hope Care Transit logo is on the doors, along with a logo of their sponsor, Envision Financial.

Anyone with information can call the Hope RCMP at 604-869-7750.

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