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Thieves steal Habitat for Humanity truck in Superior

Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity's 1989 Chevrolet pickup is seen at right in this photo from a 2013 Habitat project. The truck was stolen from the nonprofit's headquarters in Superior earlier this week. (Photo courtesy of Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity)

When Dave Nonnemacher arrived at the Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity headquarters in Superior on Tuesday morning, he noted the absence of the nonprofit’s 1989 Chevrolet pickup truck.

Nonnemacher, the nonprofit’s executive director, wasn’t initially concerned, he recalled later. He figured Daryl Yankee had arrived early and driven the truck to 708 Weeks Ave., where Yankee is construction manager for a project.

But later that morning, when Nonnemacher saw Yankee and no truck, he guessed the unwelcome truth. The two men went out to the area near the loading dock on Habitat’s property at 1621 Broadway. They found only broken glass where the truck had been.  

Superior police came and confirmed the obvious: Someone had broken out one of the truck’s windows and stolen the vehicle. As of Wednesday afternoon, the vehicle hadn’t been found.

The theft put the local Habitat chapter in a bind. The charity’s mission is to eliminate substandard housing by constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes. It would be hard to carry out that work without its workhorse pickup truck.

It was particularly bad timing, Nonnemacher said, as Habitat scrambles to finish up several projects. A group of five volunteers had signed up to work with Yankee on the house at 708 Weeks on Wednesday, he said.

It happens that Habitat’s neighbor across the street is the Kari Toyota dealership. Nonnemacher called general manager Chris Kari, who called him a half-hour later with the loan of a 2011 Toyota Tundra, the tank filled with gas.

The truck was a trade-in, Kari said, that hadn’t yet been prepared for sale. The dealership was happy to help, he added.

“They’re good for our community,” Kari said of Habitat. “We appreciate that they’re here. When somebody steals their transportation it puts them on hold. We just try to be good neighbors.”

Though temporary, the loaner is a bit of a step up for the Habitat chapter. Though the 1989

Chevy was well-cared-for, it also was well-used, Nonnemacher said.

“We didn’t have a truck that was that old for them,” Kari joked.

But Nonnemacher is looking for a longer-term solution.

“It would be wonderful for someone to say, ‘You need a truck; I’ve got it’,” he said.

The Habitat for Humanity phone number is (218) 722-3875.