VADNAIS HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — A Harley Davidson with sentimental value is now in the hands of a thief. The motorcycle originally belonged to a Vietnam Veteran, but was stolen at a Vadnais Heights bar last Friday night.

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“It was my dad’s life-long dream to have a Harley. He finally got that dream and he bought his first Harley,” said Denice Schanke.

She said her father, Tom, had never been happier. The veteran had saved money for years to buy the 1999 Harley Davidson Fat Boy and he decorated the motorcycle with stickers honoring his career in the military.

But after only a couple years of riding, Tom developed lung cancer so he gave the bike to Denice’s husband, Joe.

Last Friday, the couple parked in front of a liquor store while they grabbed dinner at Jimmy’s Bar in Vadnais Heights. When they came out a short time later, the motorcycle was gone.

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“I was absolutely just heartbroken. My heart just sank. My husband is absolutely devastated. We just want it back in one piece. If we could get it back in one piece, that’s all we would ask for,” Denice said.

She thinks someone was watching them with their sights set on the Harley Davidson. Some of her questions have been answered after the liquor store she and her husband parked in front of that night found surveillance video of a man driving off on a motorcycle. She said he had long, black hair and a black vest on, but the video isn’t entirely clear.

For Denice, the hardest part was letting her father know the motorcycle he worked so hard for is gone.

“The sentimental value of this motorcycle can never be replaced. We can never get another motorcycle to replace that one; it’s never going to be the same. With my father being so ill … and having worked so hard for that, it’s just heartbreaking,” said Denice.

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She said her family is willing to offer a reward to anyone who can locate the motorcycle. Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the Harley Davidson can call the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office at 651-266-7320.

John Lauritsen