Operation Fetch charity van stolen Tuesday morning from Baymont Inn

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Lon Hodge woke up on Tuesday ready to hit the road.

“I was on my way to Alabama,” he told 13 NEWS.

He soon realized his trip would be stalled when he realized his van had been stolen right outside his room at the Baymont Inn around 6:00 a.m.

“I was loading things and whoever it was, he had to watch the car,” he said.

“All the doors were open, the car keys were on the dashboard and he had to wait for me to come inside, slowly closed all the doors and then drove off.”

He said the van was not packed for short-term travel. Inside was Hodge’s entire life.

“I kind of teased a little bit that I’m willfully homeless, we got rid of my house and we literally travel most of the year doing stuff for homeless veterans across the country and teaching seminars on service dog law,” Hodge, who lives in southern Colorado, said.

“We are all volunteers, no one receives a salary so we do everything for free, [the van] had everything I owned, plus a lot of stuff for charity, there’s probably $10,000 of charity stuff in there.

This charity is Operation Fetch.

It provides supplies to homeless veterans, provides service dog training and helps vets get their own dogs.

He has a message for the thief.

“You’ve affected a lot of people who desperately need help,” he said.

“Take the other things of mine but get the van back so we can continue our mission.”

Hodge’s van is a 2014 Ford Transit with a black dog sticker.

It has a stand on top and a portable tube shower.

The van has a Colorado Disabled Veterans license plate with the number 525YJQ.

The front grill is damaged and a bumper is missing.

Hodge said the man who took the van is about 5-foot-9, white or Hispanic, wearing a green baseball cap and gray hoodie.

Click here to contribute to a GoFundMe to help Lon.

Contact the police for any information.

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