Week before leaving for missionary assignment, Georgia family says van stolen

BLACKSHEAR, Ga. – A family of six in Southeast Georgia is working to track down their van that was stolen days before Christmas and just before they were scheduled to leave for Costa Rica, where they will serve as international missionaries.

Scotty Hayes said the thief got into the unlocked vehicle and took it right out of the driveway of their Blackshear home Sunday night.

“We parked the van underneath the carport just like we normally do, and then this morning we came out and I was actually going to the grocery store and pick up some things for my wife and went outside and looked for the van and it wasn’t there,” Hayes said.

Hayes said bibles and electronics belonging to his four sons -- ages 9 months to 7 years -- were inside.

“The biggest thing of value were car seats,” he explained.

The family is moving next week to Costa Rica to attend language school to help them as they serve as missionaries.

“We were going to park the car for the better part of the year, and so we weren’t going to be driving it much,” Hayes said. “Just last week, literally the end of last week, we changed the insurance to where it wasn’t full coverage. It’s just liability. And so none of it will be covered.”

Hayes says the family doesn’t plan to press charges.

“I know a lot of people have a hard time during the holidays and there’s a lot of reasons that people steal stuff and none of it is justified, but at the end of the day, we would just like to have our van back,” he said.

The family did report the theft to authorities, but there isn’t any description of a suspect. The family urges anyone with information to contact police.

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