UPDATE: RPAW’s van was found Tuesday evening, and two of the pups were turned into a gas station in Hugo, according to the group’s Facebook page.

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Tuesday morning at 5 a.m., Elizabeth Gigler was loading up her animal rescue van, headed to take five rescued pit bull puppies to their new foster home.

When she was inside grabbing formula to feed the puppies on their road trip, the van containing her wallet, paperwork, cash donations and the puppies was stolen.

“Devastation, shock. I didn’t really know what to feel actually,” Gigler said.

She works for Rescued Pets Are Wonderful, or RPAW. They pick up unclaimed animals from animal control.

“We rescue them, get them the medical care they need and then re-home them to adoptive families,” she said.

Gigler’s stolen cards were used at three different St. Paul gas stations nearby. One had surveillance footage of a card being used.

The stolen van — a silver 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan — was just barely visible, and Gigler says its license plates had been removed. But it has several RPAW decals on its windows.

(credit: RPAW)

(credit: RPAW)

“I’m just worried about the puppies, I mean I couldn’t care less about anything else that was in the vehicle, or the vehicle itself,” she said. “It’s not worth anything.”

It’s unclear what the thief was after: the van, money or puppies. But St. Paul police say they have just begun their investigation.

“I would hope that they weren’t having malicious intent for the puppies, but I can’t say,” Gigler said. “Doing this since 2004, I’ve seen it all. I guess we’re just hoping that maybe that they leave them somewhere with somebody so that we can find them.”

Whoever took the puppies needs to know they’re very young, and need to eat every five hours.

They do have implanted microchips, so if you get a pit bull puppy soon, RPAW asks that you have it scanned to see if may be one of the stolen dogs.

Gigler believes the van may be heading to Wisconsin. The group asks anyone with any information to contact local police.

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