KANSAS CITY, Mo. — We’ve all heard of ‘The Grinch That Stole Christmas.’ Well, Kansas City, Mo., police are looking for a Grinch of their own who’s stealing cars — cars that were supposed to be going to families in need this Christmas.
Terry Franz is known to many as the ‘Car Santa.’ He’s been giving away vehicles to deserving people for the past 17 years. Overnight Tuesday, someone stole four cars and damaged two others that the Car Santa had prepared to give away.
A single mother and a veteran were among those who were finally going to get four wheels of their own.
“Those guys took their sweet time going through them and somehow they got them started and they took off with them,” said Abraham Karmi.
Karmi manages a car lot at 112th and Hickman Mills Drive where Franz stores donated vehicles while they’re getting fixed up to be given away.
“We’ve never had the whole cars, we’ve had catalytic converters stolen and you know parts stealing,” Franz said “People break a window out and take some stuff, but we’ve never had the whole car stolen, so it’s a little disappointing there and especially this time of year.”
Franz said his biggest giveaway of the year happens December 21 when he planned to give the four stolen cars, along with 16 others, to families in need. He says the people who suffer most in this are the people that the ‘Cars 4 Christmas’ and ‘Cars 4 Heroes’ program serves.
“That’s four more cars that could have gone to help four more people in the community,” Franz said. “Just to give you an idea, we get between 15,000 and 20,000 requests a year, but just last week alone was 5 or 6 hundred just last week.”
Franz says he doesn’t think he’ll ever see the stolen vehicles again but said that won’t keep him from doing what he’s been doing for the past 17 years.
“If you’re there and you watch somebody get those keys, and watch the look on their face, it makes it all worth it” he said. “I’ll do it until the day I’m dead.”