Cass County church searching for stolen van used for mission trips, Sunday transportation

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PLEASANT HILL, Mo. -- A local church is asking for help to find something stolen right from its parking lot over the weekend. Its pastor says the donated vehicle helps "HIS Church" run.

"Okay, so the van's gone," Pastor Tim Casteel said. "Let's see what else God can bless us with."

Casteel noticed the White 1999 Ford E-350 was gone from the parking lot Saturday.

Hoping someone will spot it, church member Erica Whaley heard the news and took to Facebook with a plea for help.

"You will see the silhouette of the old logo," Whaley said.

Leftover glue from the old logo, which said "family worship church," should be seen above the van's rear tires.

"It was on both sides of the van," Whaley said.

Her husband, Paul, actually got the van donated about seven years ago.

He's also one of the drivers who takes children and disabled adults to church every Sunday.

"Shocked and disappointed because we use that thing for not only picking up kids," Paul said, "we help with missions like when the tornado struck Joplin, we went down there."

Paul has had tough times of his own. He said this church got him through.

"I had lost everything before I came here," Paul said. "Twenty-acre farm, business, family -- everything."

That's why he volunteers. He also does it for the kids.

"It's just great," Paul said. "They see me at gas stations around town, and I'll buy them something or whatever and we'll high-five, and it's just cool having that relationship with those kids."

But without a van, they can't help as many people.

Casteel is asking the thief to return the van in good condition.

"If you want to anonymously just drop it off and leave your homemade key in it, that's fine, too," he said.

Casteel has filed a police report. If you see the van, you're asked to give Pleasant Hill PD a call. You can also call the church at 816-987-3300.

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