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In Billings, daycare van burglarized twice in three days



Billings, Montana – A van at Billings’ Little Pumpkin Patch Daycare was broken into twice in three days. The perpetrator made certain that locked doors did not get in the way the second time.

Vandalism is an unexpected discovery for anybody working in a daycare, but it was only the beginning for assistant director JustinAnn Mraz last week when she found out what happened to the van.

“When I buckled in the first kid, I found cigarette butts in the seat. Then when I climbed into the backseat to buckle the next one in and I knelt on the seat. My leg was wet. Unusual, had no idea why,” said Mraz on Tuesday.

More than merely smoking in the van was done by the culprit. Mraz was kneeling in urine. A van used to transport children had been broken into, smoked in, and saturated in urine and alcohol.

Mraz, on the other hand, did everything she could to resolve the issue when the corporation filed a police report.

“She actually took time out of her Sunday to pick up the van and take it to get it deep cleaned,” said Little Pumpkin Patch owner Victoria Johnson on Tuesday.

The daycare discovered that the van’s side door was not locked, which is how the perpetrator got in the first time. So they made sure it was securely locked throughout the weekend.

The perpetrator returned on Sunday night.

“Monday we came in and the lock was broken off and everything was ripped out of the car… We’ve lost our screen, and then the dash itself actually is broken and flops now. It doesn’t stay put. And then right above the middle of our seats, that’s where our TV used to be mounted,” added Mraz.

Senseless destruction, but Mraz claims it could have been worse.

“Our biggest fear is something being in the van that the kids could’ve gotten a hold of. What if it hadn’t been cigarettes and alcohol what if it had been heroin in the seat and their was a needle in the seat that I didn’t see?” Mraz said.

They claim they don’t expect to discover the individual guilty and will likely be left wondering what motivated them to do it in the first place.

“Small children ride in those vans, and you’re damaging something that we use for a childcare facility. It’s not like it’s a big money thing. We use that to pick up kids from school, really for our community. It’s heartbreaking that they damaged something to the point that we may not be able to replace it, or it may not be worth replacing,” Johnson added.

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