EmBe children's programs affected by theft and vandalism

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - There's a similar trend happening among daycares in Sioux Falls. Several places have been hit by thieves. And what's being stolen has financially affected one organization in a big way.

On Friday, December 13th, at EmBe South (69th and Louise location), two vans and a school bus were vandalized.

"We were completely dismayed for someone to make such an effort and really come after child care and a non-profit and steal is such a horrible thought,” said EmBe CEO Karen Lundquist.

Overnight someone had removed the catalytic converters and caused some other damage. EmBe staff suspects whoever did this was trying to salvage and sell the parts.

"There's always things that you try to prepare for, we have insurance, we do all the planning that we can, but this was really out of the blue and unexpected,” said Lundquist.

The vans were repaired, but the school bus was a total loss. It held up to 30 kids and was used to pick kids up from school and take them to EmBe. The bus was also routinely used for field trips covering nearly 8,000 miles a year.

“So all of a sudden we came to a dead stop and had to figure out how to rent vans or borrow school buses and really try to make it work without the heart of our transportation, this great yellow school bus,” said Lundquist.

They did that for about a month but finally had to buy a bus.

"What it's meant is that we have to restructure our finances and unfortunately that means we'll have to limit other areas if we're not able to do some fundraising or otherwise pay for this bus,” said Lundquist.

EmBe is trying to raise around $25,000 to make up for the cost and they are asking for the communities help in doing so. That way they can continue to offer their kids the best experience possible. If you are interested in donating to EmBe’s vehicle fund drive click here.

Two other daycares, For the Love of Children and Discovery Learning Center, say several of their vans were also vandalized in similar ways recently.