Weekend thefts continue to plaque the Salvation Army and put them behind in helping those in need.
Employees with the agency arrived to find clothes and shoes scattered across its back loading area Monday. The mess wasn’t the first time workers have had to clean up to start the day.
“Since we have moved back this has happened pretty much every week,” said director Michelle Miles.
The local Salvation Army moved back to 2200 Lackey Drive last year following a short stay at a location on U.S. Highway 72.
“We can’t afford a $5,000 surveillance system,” added the director as she and four other employees cleaned Monday. “Right now, we are wasting manpower to clean this up every week.”
Clothing and other items dropped off by the community outside of the building have been gone through on a regular basis when no one with the agency is around.
“Some people are going through and taking what they want and leaving a mess to clean up,” said Miles. “They aren’t only stealing from us, but they are also stealing from the community.”
Individuals are also rummaging through the organization’s garbage dumpster after business hours. They use a pallet at the back of the building to climb through the dumpster.
“Anything we throw away is not worth having,” said Miles. “If someone needs shoes or clothing all they need to do is let us know.”
The problem has become so bad that garbage trucks have not been able to get through to collect the agency’s garbage each week.
“These people stealing aren’t doing it out of need,” said the director. “They are doing it because they are plagued with greed.”
Miles is advising donations be dropped off during business hours or limited to items that can be placed in the Salvation Army’s two drop boxes at the back of the building.
Business hours are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We are tired of this happening all the time,” said Miles. “We intend to prosecute anyone we find doing it from now on.”