Dan Pugmire, project manager at the volunteer-run Idaho Veterans Garden in Caldwell, had a bad surprise Wednesday morning. He arrived at the garden at 6 a.m. as usual and found that his truck, a gray 2000 Chevy Silverado, had been stolen during the night.
Pugmire had parked the truck at the garden on Tuesday night. He locked the truck, locked the gate to the garden and turned on the garden’s exterior lights. Whoever stole the truck also broke the lock on the garden gate. Pugmire found two sets of tracks leading to where the truck had been parked.
“The thing is, the thief stole from everybody in the garden,” said Pugmire.
The garden, recently featured in an Idaho Statesman story, is intended as a therapeutic place for veterans and others in the community who have experienced trauma. It includes numerous garden beds for veterans, including three for fallen soldiers. Pugmire used the truck to haul materials for the garden as well as furniture donated to veterans.
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Pugmire reported the theft to the Caldwell police. A neighbor told Pugmire he heard noise in the garden at around 4 a.m. on Wednesday and heard a truck speed past his house.
Pugmire said he just wants his truck back. He has offered to help the person who was desperate enough to steal it.
“It’s not normal for someone to steal something like that, to break into the garden and dishonor people who come here, who are trying to get their lives back on track. I kind of feel like I want to smash on them. But I mostly want to help them.”
Several tools in the bed of the truck were also stolen.
Anyone who has information about the theft should call Crimestoppers at 343-COPS or the Caldwell Police Department at 208-455-3115.