Stolen Iowa church truck found in Indianapolis - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Stolen Iowa church truck found in Indianapolis

Surveillance video taken from an Indianapolis-area hotel shows thieves getting away with a truck and a trailer full of donated clothing, food, and toys.

The stolen vehicle belongs to Hudson natives Connie and Doug Mertens.

The couple was taking the donated items to the poor mining town of Elkhorn City, Kentucky to be delivered to families in need as part of a church mission.

"These little children that are in these trailer houses that have no heat, no winter clothes, they have no food," Connie Mertens said.

Disaster struck when they stayed overnight at an Indiana hotel on the way to Elkhorn City.

"The hotel parking lot was full of cars, and why they targeted our truck and trailer is just mind-blowing," Mertens said.

Early Wednesday morning, some five days later, police found the stolen truck abandoned in a residential area of Indianapolis stripped, heavily damaged, and with nothing inside.

The trailer remains missing.

"It broke my heart because I knew I had packed every one of those boxes in that truck, and I knew the need that we could have taken care of," Mertens said.

The news has been hard to take for the devoted members of New Beginnings Church in Brooklyn, Iowa who have been collecting donations since March.

"I almost feel violated really, because of our compassion, our heart to reach out and to give to this group of people in Kentucky, and now our effort is gone," said church member Dave Pasker.

The Kentucky-based mission's phone number is 606-754-3216.

Donations can be made to:

Lighthouse Mission

5395 Elkhorn Creek Rd

Elkhorn City, KY 41522


Powered by Frankly