Sometimes one comes across a weird story and there’s an underlying layer of sadness that renders any curiosity about the weirdness kind of gross—a person does a strange thing in a Target, say, and it becomes obvious that the person in question is seriously troubled, so gawking about it is pretty shitty. But every now and then, both weirdness and lack of harm coincide in one perfect, strange story, and then one is free to revel in its oddity without being even sort of an asshole. Such is this story of a food bank’s van, which was stolen while empty of all but bread racks, and was returned full of weird-ass junk.
Washington’s KOMO News reports that a white Dodge van belonging to the Auburn Food Bank was stolen last week, after a thief broke into the lock box that contained the van’s keys. (Note: Stealing a van from a freakin’ food bank is just the worst, what the hell.) At the time of the theft, it was empty, save some bread racks, which were also empty. But last Friday, police officers noticed a crowd gathering around a van in nearby Kent, Washington (seven miles or so from Auburn). They ran the van’s plates, and lo and behold, it was the white Dodge in question.
“Police tell me they found two people with it and apparently they were giving up a few other names,” Auburn Food Bank’s director Debbie Christian told KOMO News.
Happy ending, right? Give or a take a couple bread racks. Here’s where it gets weird: When Christian went to pick up the van from the impound lot on Tuesday, the once empty van suddenly contained “three bikes, a hot dog griller—the kind you’d find at a convenience store—an air fryer, stage lighting, a drum, water filters, a Surface Pro, backpacks, [and] women’s makeup and toiletries.” There were also “apparent gang symbols” written inside the van. As Christian put it, “We got a lot of new surprises... We have all this stuff, but they kept the bread racks.”
Yet the air fryer and stage lighting are not the weirdest thing about this. No, the weirdest thing is that the stuff is in there at all, because it’s all technically evidence. The food bank can’t currently use the van (or, you know, the hot dog griller), because it’s being used to store what’s very possibly a bunch of stolen goods. When asked why it was still in the van, Christian said she was told it’s because “they don’t have enough room at the police department to put it all away.”
Christian told the news station that it “would be nice to use [the van] for pickups again.” It would also presumably nice to no longer be part of the chain of custody for a bunch of super weird evidence of a crime, so that she and the rest of the Auburn Food Bank can get back to being a food bank.