Chattanooga Police are looking for two special vehicles stolen from the Austin Hatcher Foundation’s new Education Advancement Center over the weekend. The 2018 Ford Explorer (photo above) and 2018 Jeep Wrangler were built by pediatric cancer patients and their families as part of therapy, and were to be sold at auction to raise funds for the nonprofit’s many programs
Anyone with information regarding the location of these vehicles should call the Chattanooga Police Department at (423) 698-2525.
The trucks were built and outfitted by pediatric cancer patients and their families as part of the foundation’s industrial arts therapy division. This program, offered at no cost to participants, gives children a chance to perform occupational therapy in a fun, educational environment.
The two trucks were to be auctioned in Scottsdale, Ariz. at the Leake Auto Auction in January 2020. A previous automotive build project — a 2017 HURST Jeepster Commando — raised $225,000 when it was sold at auction earlier this year.
“We are completely devastated by this horrible theft,” said Foundation President Amy Jo Osborn. “These cars had a lot of hard work and love put into them by our patients, and we’re heartbroken to see the wreckage left behind by whoever stole them. The thieves obviously damaged the vehicles and left a trail of destroyed parts behind.
Even if the police find the vehicles, we probably won’t be able to use them in the fundraisers as we’d planned. This is truly a huge loss.”