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Van stolen from animal rescue charity is found – but 5 puppies are still missing

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The van stolen from a Twin Cities animal rescue nonprofit has been recovered – but the five pit bull puppies inside are missing.

RPAW (Rescued Pets Are Wonderful) has provided an update to the van theft from Maplewood in the early hours of Tuesday, saying on its Facebook page its Dodge Caravan has been found in St. Paul.

Unfortunately, the van was completely emptied, including the five, five-week-old pit bull puppies that had been put in the van ahead of being taken to a foster home.

"We still have all the hope in the world we will find these pups but we need all the continued support," the Facebook post says. "The hundreds of dollars of equipment and donation money etc. can be replaced. The lives of those pups cannot."

Further posts by RPAW reveal the van was recovered on the 2300 block of Reaney Street in St. Paul, and that fingerprints were taken from it.

RPAW director Liz Gigler had put the dogs into the van as she was preparing to take them to a foster home on Tuesday morning, but when she looked out her window at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, the van was gone.

After it was taken, the thieves are believed to have used credit cards in the van to buy gas at three stations in the St. Paul area, before it was found Tuesday night.

"We got a call from a St. Paul resident stating she thought the rescue van was in front of her house," Gigler told FOX 9. "We drove over and it sure was. No plates, the logos were scratched off, and everything possible was removed on the inside."

RPAW is asking people to keep an eye out on Craigslist for any listing of the puppies, and anyone with information as to their whereabouts to call police or email

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