KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City, Missouri, neighborhood group on Thursday released security video of a group stealing a work truck that has a special purpose.
The theft took place in the parking lot of the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council at 37th Street and Woodland Avenue.
The neighborhood group uses the truck to haul away trash and other debris. In fact, earlier this week, the truck was loaded with tree limbs, which meant group members could not lock it up in a cage where it’s usually kept.
The thieves took advantage of that, the group says.
"That is our workhorse here in the neighborhood," said Alan Young, housing director at the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council.
That fact is something the three suspects didn't take into account early Thursday morning when they chose to steal the council's Ford F-550.
"It’s the heart of the cleanup initiative here in the Ivanhoe area," said Rodrigo Alvarez, the building manager at the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council.
Surveillance cameras captured one of the three suspects jimmy the truck's lock and take off with the $28,000 vehicle within minutes.
"We’re at a loss,” Young told 41 Action News. “We don’t have a way to replace it. The work that we do typically, we get funding from programs, but we don’t get funding for vehicles and vehicle maintenance.”
Young has lived in the neighborhood since 1987 and said he has witnessed its revitalization.
"People take pride in their neighborhood,” he said. “Just because you’re low-income doesn’t mean you live in a trashy, dirty area. We should live in a nice clean neighborhood like others enjoy in Kansas City. And we’re willing to do the work to make it happen."
The group is known for frequently organizing clean-up events and working closely with the city to tackle notorious illegal dumping spots, such as a lot at 45th Street and Garfield Avenue, where last week someone dumped 40 tires and more individuals dumped trash on Thursday.
"They dumped back there, left for whatever reason, came back and then dumped the rest of it right here,” KCMO illegal dumping investigator Alan Ashurst said. “It had been quiet up until then.”
Ivanhoe's recent theft is disheartening to city staff.
"If we had 100 other neighborhoods groups that took the pride that Ivanhoe does and went out and helped themselves, we would have a much cleaner city,” Ashurst said. “It’s a shame that somebody would do that.”
In the meantime, the neighborhood groups plans to use a passenger van to haul away some trash.
41 Action News notified KCMO's Department of Neighborhoods and Housing Services about the theft.
A spokesperson said if the group reaches out to them, the city's Solid Waste Services will do what it can do to help.
If anyone has any information regarding the theft, call the Kansas City Crime Stoppers Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).