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Miracles do happen: A story of stolen donations ends in astonishing moment caught on camera

Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 11:54 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A vehicle, stolen, with a treasure inside. A desperate search. A heart-breaking close call. And an ending he’ll never forget.

The last 48 hours were a roller coaster for Matthew Buck, his family and his co-workers. It started with a kind gesture turned sideways. But that was just the beginning to a series of unthinkable events.

Matthew is a bartender at Safari Bar & Grill in Renner. On Sunday he held a fundraiser for his cousin who is still in the hospital after suffering from a stroke in March.

“The least I could do for his family was try to raise some cash,” said Buck.

And the fundraiser was a success, raising $6,500 in just three hours.

“I was so ecstatic, when I could do something out of my heart for someone I’ve loved my whole life,” he said.

But, soon the fruit of that generosity vanished.

Matthew says after the fundraiser, he needed to drop off a backpack his son forgot at his mother’s house.

“I literally ran in for less than a minute. My son’s here right now... and he said, ‘Dad how’d you get here,’ and I said, ‘What do you mean?’ and I look out, and my vehicles gone,” said Buck.

In less than 60 seconds, all of the money he raised, Matthew’s phone and his SUV were gone and in the hands of a stranger.

“I felt... failure. Failed. Like, why?” said Buck.

Matthew called the police right away. But, he heard nothing for the rest of the night. And nothing on Monday.

“When Matt messaged me and told me that his car was stolen and that the, everything that we had worked so hard for was in his vehicle, it was heart-wrenching. It tears your heart right out of your chest knowing that could happen to anybody,” said Safari Bar and Grill General Manager Serena Campbell.

But, on Tuesday, a glimmer of hope.

He received a message from a woman saying she thinks she sees his SUV at a Flying J’s Truck Stop.

”So I call the non-emergency police line and I tell them, ‘This is Matt Buck. I found my vehicle. It’s at Flying J’s. I’ll head over and meet you guys,’ So... I head over there and I pull up right next to my SUV, and I see him sleeping in my vehicle in the driver’s seat. I just start shaking,” Matthew said.

A police officer arrives shortly after and walked up to his stolen SUV. Matthew says at that point, the suspect started the car and started backing up.

“The cop pulls a gun and says, ‘Hands!’ But he didn’t shoot or anything,” Matthew said. But despite the police response, the suspect got away.

“He back out into the ditch, the 60th Street ditch and that’s the last time I saw my vehicle,” said Buck.

“It’s still hard even thinking about it now, you know, knowing that they actually found the vehicle this morning and now it’s gone again. We put so much time and effort into this,” said Campbell.

Then the unthinkable happened.

During our interview with Matthew, he got a phone call receiving the best news he could’ve asked for. Police had finally found his car.

Matthew quickly met with police in the parking lot of an ACE Hardware where his vehicle had been abandoned, and by a miracle, the $6,500 was still in there untouched.

“I felt failed. I felt I failed somebody. And it’s back. What a great ending to a whole two days of emotions,” said Buck.

After speaking with Matthew he hopped on the phone to tell his family the good news.

Matthew said police called him later Tuesday night saying they are investigating into who stole his car.

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