FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - A nonprofit that provides free dental services to low-income children at schools is all smiles after police found the organization’s van about 24 hours after someone stole it.
Early Tuesday morning, police say a man broke into The Smile Partners office in Federal Way. The crook was able to get away with about $35,000 worth of supplies including the nonprofits van.
“It was devastating. It was heartbreaking to us,” said Alona Horner Smile Partners Executive Director.
About 24 hours after the incident, Horner says she got news she was not expecting.
“Got a nice 7 o’clock wakeup call from fed way police notifying they located our vehicle,” she said.
The van was returned, but thousands of dollars’ worth of dental equipment is still missing.
“This van was completely stocked and ready to go for 850 kids,” said Horner “Unfortunately she was returned to us empty,” she added.
The van was filled with air/water compressors that are essential to the work Smile Partners does in local schools.
In total, 5 of the compressors were stolen. Each one costs about $2,000.
Horner says the goal this year was to provide service to a record 10,000 children. However, that may be a challenge without the supplies.
“We might have to slow down, we might have to pull back a little bit,” she said.
Smile Partners does have a GoFundMe to help raise money for the stolen items. Horner says after Q 13 News’ first story aired on the theft, they saw an increase in support from the community.
“After the story aired, we immediately had donations and support coming in, an individual donor at 4 thousand dollars,” she said.
Horner says despite the hardships, with the community’s support, they may still be able to reach their goal of helping 10,000 kids this year.
Federal Way police are still looking for the suspect involved in the case. If you have information contact them.