BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Maryland Book Bank van was returned to the group’s parking lot Friday, but it was vandalized.

The van was stolen from a warehouse on Union Avenue in north Baltimore sometime between late in the day July 22 and the early morning hours of July 23.

Program manager Kimberly Crout came to work at the Maryland Book Bank that day and was surprised to find the van not there.

“We noticed it was gone, so really within hours we had to scramble to figure out what we were going to be doing,” Crout said.

Crout said the van travels all over Baltimore, picking up thousands of book donations for homes, schools and libraries for kids.

Workers said that they are glad to see the van back.

“I can’t believe it’s back, and I’m very happy it’s back,” Mark Fiering, of the Maryland Book Bank, said. “Overall, it could have been worse.”

There was, however, significant damage to the van- spraypainted gold, and the back window busted out.

“Obviously, it needs quite a bit of work now,” Fiering said.

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Whoever took the van had a specific theme in mind. They pasted pages torn out from one book, in particular, featuring a Dutch artist- seemingly an art installation, even giving it a name: Van Go.

“I think they named it. I was thinking that earlier, like, they named it Van Go”? said Greg Weeks, of the Maryland Book Bank.

Feiring said he was surprised the van was returned. He said the Book Bank will now offer to return donations to those who gave $6,000 to help replace it.

“I laughed,” Feiring said. “That’s all I can do. I can’t even be angry about it at all, I just laughed.

The Maryland Book Bank is planning to add more cameras to its lot, and they need to change the ignition key, since whoever brought the van back did not leave it.

Paul Gessler

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