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Police recover Coon Rapids veteran's uniform, continue searching for his stolen car

William Handt served 21 years in the National Guard. The Staff Sergeant was deployed to Iraq twice and assisted in disaster response in Fargo and Roseau.

COON RAPIDS, Minn. — A Minnesota veteran could really use your help. Already a bit down on his luck, someone recently stole William Handt's car, and in it, his dress uniform and service ribbons.

His vehicle is a white 2007 Crown Victoria - an old cop car with the spotlight still attached. Without it, Handt is left to bike dozens of miles to and from work from Columbia Heights to downtown Minneapolis.

"I was like who took it, what happened," said Handt, who added that the thief snatched it from right in front of where he stays. "You don't know what a car's value is until you don't have it no more."

Next, the theft was posted on the Coon Rapids Police Department's Facebook page. Police officers had recently pulled over a driver in another stolen vehicle in another city. In it, Detective Interna Kim happened to find the dress uniform and posted about it on social media.

"What stood out were William’s army duffel bags," said Detective Kim. "Then his garment bag, which was a black bag folded in half and it had the Army crest on it."

Detective Kim did some more digging. "I started looking through records and found out this person had their vehicle stolen in a different city and were able to find his phone number and give him a call," they said.

"He goes, this is a rare thing we could ever recover," said Handt. "I'm like, 'Wow.'"

With the uniform reunited with Handt, the search is still on for the car. 

"Which is part of the problem, is that they’re pretty common," said Detective Kim about the Crown Victoria - a car that Handt also used to just start a second job as a food delivery driver.

"I was just starting to expand a little bit and get stuff situated," he said.

Still, despite that now being on hold, Handt still has a good attitude.

"I don't let a stolen car from stopping me from doing what I need to do," said Handt. "I can replace it someday, but it's just an inconvenience right now."

Detective Kim also connected Handt with a social worker to help him tap into veterans' resources. Calling him a "humble guy," Detective Kim said Handt only asked for a bus pass.

If you think that you spot Handt's car, you can contact the Coon Rapids Police Department at 763-767-6481.

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