Wheels and batteries were stolen Sunday night from cars being repaired to donate to veterans at Galen's Auto Body.

The shop's owner Galen Hassler said he found out car parts were gone Monday morning when he looked at the shop's garage. 

"It seems like they went through almost all the vehicles (donated cars) and stole things out of them," Hassler said. No customer cars were included in the damage. 

Four brand-new wheels including the tires and rims as well as seven batteries were lost. The estimated cost is $1,700, Hassler said.

Two and a half years ago, Hassler started taking charge of the Columbia location of Cars 4 Heroes, a non-profit organization that provides free cars to those who were unable to get one on their own. The donated cars are fixed up at Galen's to help veterans, first responders and their families.

Cars 4 Heroes has been having a problem with parts being stolen. Hassler said there was another incident of stolen car parts about two weeks ago.

Hassler said the organization is in need of more vehicles to fix up. Cars 4 Heroes has over 15,000 entries of veterans asking for a vehicle nationwide, and it gives away around 300 cars a year between Columbia and Kansas City locations.

"The next best thing is to help us financially," Hassler said. Each vehicle costs from $500 to $1,000 to repair to donate to veterans and first responders.

The Facebook page for Cars 4 Heroes in Columbia contained a post about the damage to seek the public's help.

"We haven’t had anything (donation) come yet, but that would be very helpful," Hassler said. 

  • General Assignments, summer 2020 Studying data journalism Reach me at xsm82@missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

  • As senior editor of the Missourian, Fred Anklam manages general assignment reporters. He can be reached at anklamf@missouri.edu or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720.

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