By Bill Hudson

MAPLEWOOD (WCCO) — Every day of the week, TSE Inc. uses a fleet of vans to transport its 325 disabled clients to jobs and community activities. The Maplewood nonprofit serves mostly developmentally disabled people in Ramsey County with opportunities to help them be self-supportive.

To perform that mission, the vans are needed to bring people from where they live to where they work.

“It’s a conversion van for people with wheelchairs, it has tie downs,” said Lynne Megan, TSE President and CEO.

Sadly, when staff got to work Monday morning, one of TSE’s 2011 Ford Econoline handicap-accessible vans was missing from the parking lot.

The stolen van has Minnesota license plate VP3245, it is white in color and has a number 27 TSE sticker visible in the rear window.

“We will now be limited in getting people to and from their work opportunities and to the TSE community resource centers,” Megan said.

TSE is the same nonprofit agency that had a landscaping trailer stolen from its location in 2013. The trailer transported lawn equipment to and from work sites to enable clients to earn an income. The trailer and its contents were never found.

Maplewood police say they hope someone either spots the van or knows who might have taken it. Anyone with information is asked to call 911.

“When the driver returned the van Friday they locked it up and turned the keys to inside, so there’s no indication the keys were left in it and no indication of any broken glass in the lot at all,” said Michael Shortreed, Maplewood police commander.

Due to the van’s age and high mileage, insurance won’t come close to the customized van’s true cost — both in dollars and opportunities.

“Why would someone take a van that helps people with developmental disabilities, it is so wrong?” Megan added.

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Bill Hudson


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