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Van thief also takes teacher's bags of toys

When Chris Johnston had her 1994 Dodge Caravan stolen Saturday from a South Tampa restaurant parking lot, the thief took more than her transportation.

On the back seat were two canvas bags of toys she uses to interact with disabled children for her job with Easter Seals of Florida.

"These are the tools of our trade. They're so important to stimulate the children," Johnston said.

In her job helping the development of preschool-age disabled children, Johnston uses toys such as puzzles and stuffed animals. The toys, several hundred dollars worth were jointly purchased by Johnston and the Easter Seals, she said.

Johnston isn't sure when the organization will be able to help her replace the stolen toys. So for now, she has bought a handful of replacements herself. "But they're not really good ones," she said.

Police eventually recovered Johnston's car, though she has to insert a screwdriver into the ignition to get it to start. The toys, though, are gone.

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