NAPA, Calif. (KRON) — A man offered a reward to find cats who were catnapped inside a van last weekend in Napa. Less than a day later, the van was found on the 100 block of Harrison Avenue with the cats all safe and accounted for.

Feral cats were inside a large white Ford transit van owned by Whiskers, Tails and Ferals animal shelter when a thief hotwired the van and drove off at 11 p.m. Sunday. There were 16 cats inside the van that were supposed to be transported to a veterinary clinic, shelter workers said.

KRON4’s newsroom received several emails and phone calls from people concerned about the cats’ wellbeing.

One caller, John Bence said, “I got $5,000 cash to put up as a reward … $500 a cat. I just want to see the babies go home to a loving home. They are probably scared to death. God only know what’s happened to them. Let’s get them home.”

Margo Cassidy, president of Whiskers, Tails and Ferals, wrote, “I’m not worried about the van. I’m more worried about the cats and finding them in time. A kind caring gentleman reached out yesterday to offer a generous reward.”

Bence owns an air duct cleaning service, The Duct Doctor, in Santa Rosa and he is passionate about rescuing cats. “I have a little cat rescue myself,” Bence said.

The cats were inside traps that were covered by blankets inside the van. (Image courtesy Margo Cassidy)

Even if the thief wanted to free the felines, the cats were inside feral trap cages that would be hard for someone to open if they were in a hurry, Cassidy said.

“I’m highly doubting that the cages were opened and the cats were set free. Some of these traps are not the easiest open for a novice person. I’m thinking he tried to unload as fast as he could. So time is of the essence to find these cats,” she wrote.

A surveillance video camera recorded the van theft. Surveillance footage shows a man pedal a bicycle up to the vehicle before breaking in and driving away. The van, which has a California license plate number of 48007E2, was reported as stolen to police.