MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thieves stole a family’s van from their apartment parking garage at the Emberwood Apartments in Blaine Thursday morning — but they took away more than just a mode of transportation.

“We woke up this morning to go to therapy appointments early, and came out of the elevator down to the parking garage and our car was missing,” said Melissa Moos.

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The person who stole the Moos’ red Toyota Sienna from her apartment garage may not have realized they also took it from her daughter, Cecily.

“They just drove right out with it,” said Kimberly Moos, Melissa’s sister. “It’s the only way we can get Cecily out of the house.”

Cecily Moos (credit: Melissa Moos)

Six-year-old Cecily has a rare genetic disorder and cerebral palsy. A wheelchair helps her get around, and the modified van with wheelchair access helps Melissa and Kimberly get Cecily around to her favorite activities and critical doctor’s appointments.

“She really can’t leave the house anymore, and that’s what she lives for,” said Melissa. “She lives for going to her gymnastics class and her swimming.”

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The sisters say surveillance video shown to them by management pieced it all together. When someone left the garage, the thieves drove in. A half-an-hour later, they left with Melissa’s van. She says it was not running and the keys were not inside, so she does not know how they were able to take it.

“Watching the footage of somebody actually taking it, I think like my heart sank into my stomach like that somebody would do that,” said Kimberly.

The van was a gift, and something Melissa says she can’t replace on her own. Insurance is waiting to see if it’ll turn up, but even waiting a few days is too long — and they need it back.

(credit: CBS)

“They didn’t take the van from my sister, they took it from [Cecily]. They took her freedom, her mobility away from her,” said Kimberly. “They directly impacted and diminished her quality of life.”

“[Cecily] is a fighter. She really, she doesn’t let anything stand in her way,” said Melissa.

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The stolen van is a red 2007 Toyota Sienna that’s modified for wheelchair access on the side door, and is low to the ground. The plates are BGN-002. Blaine police are investigating. Anyone with information is asked to call 911. Click here for more information on how to help Cecily and her family.

Erin Hassanzadeh