Racing for Recovery offers services in lieu of charges for van thief

Racing for Recovery offers services in lieu of charges for van thief

HOLLAND, OH (WTOL) - Racing for Recovery's van was stolen just after midnight on New Year's Day. But instead of pressing charges against the thief, the President of the non-profit wants to offer the suspect free services.

Staff noticed the robbery just as a sober new year's celebration was wrapping up at the Racing for Recovery center in Holland.

"Walked outside, started the car to get it warmed up and went back in to get a couple of their belongings, and within 5 minutes, the van was gone," said Todd Crandell, President and Founder of Racing for Recovery.

They depend heavily on their only vehicle to pick people up.

"The van is used every day for people taking them to a doctor's appointment, bringing them to the center, taking them to work. We use that van every day to help people improve their lives in some capacity."

After calling police and putting a post on Facebook, the community helped them recover the van by offering tips about where it was seen in Sylvania.

An arrest was made, but Crandell doesn't want to punish the suspected thief.

"If it were up to me, I wouldn't prosecute the guy," Crandell said.

He's offering instead, his counseling services, free of charge. Whether the person who did this has a drug problem, or not.

"If he needs help, I want to help him," said Crandell. "If we can't help him we'll get him to a program that can help him. But people who are doing this, they need some help."

Crandell knows first-hand what it means to be given a second chance, after years of struggling with addiction. He also experienced tragedy in his family. His mother, aunt and uncle all committed suicide, and some of them struggled with drug addiction as well.

He said he's been given a lot of grace through his own struggles.

"You can rebuild your life," he said. "I never thought I'd be sitting here talking about this. I used to live in my car."

And he knows people can make bad choices when they're in that place.

"People that are using drugs are not bad people," he said. "They are hurting people who are making bad decisions to deal with that hurt. And at Racing for Recovery, we want to help people heal from that hurt and go on and live productive lifestyles, because it's do-able."

The van is back at the center, with no damage, and Crandell said he's so thankful to the community.

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