Hurricane relief donations stolen from NC collection site
HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. — Thieves broke into a trailer overnight and stole about $500 worth of power equipment and other items donated by residents, businesses, church groups and school children for a hurricane relief supply drive.
A group of community leaders said the large enclosed trailer stuffed with donations was broken into overnight at the former Food Lion building at 800 Greenville Highway. The group has been accepting donations at the site since last week.
Organizer Bruce Hatfield said volunteers closed up shop around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
When they returned to the trailer Wednesday morning around 9:30 a.m., they noticed the locks on both the back and side doors had been cut.
Hatfield said the main item stolen was a black and yellow Karcher pressure washer. He also noticed tools, water, food and other supplies had been taken, as well along with a pair of gloves to help with the act.
“They obviously spent a little time taking things,” said Hatfield. “We figure at least $500 of stuff was stolen.”
Hatfield said they filed a report with the Hendersonville Police Department, but there was no video surveillance footage from the closed former grocery store to assist officers with leads.
Hatfield said it’s devastating to have people try and help the hurricane victims, only for those donations to be stolen.
“This is going to people that have lost everything,” he said. “For someone to break in and steal from people that have nothing, there’s nothing good I could ever say about those kinds of people. You don’t want to wish ill will on someone, but karma has a way of biting back.”
The trailer still has more than $20,000 in donations inside, organizers estimate. The goods will be delivered to Bladen and Pender counties, two of the hardest hit areas from Hurricane Florence that could receive even more rainfall from Hurricane Michael.
The group will still be accepting donations until 5:30 p.m. today. Some of the items needed include water, hygiene items, paper goods, baby supplies, cleaning supplies, mops, brooms, rakes, shovels, canned food, soap, towels and children’s toys.
The trailer will leave the lot Wednesday and be driven to the distribution center in Elizabethtown Saturday or as late as Tuesday depending on the impact of Hurricane Michael.
Andrew Mundhenk is a reporter for the Hendersonville (N.C.) Times-News.
Dan Hood, a custodian at Sugarloaf Elementary in Hendersonville, N.C., drops off donated supplies for hurricane victims Wednesday morning. The supplies were donated by the students at the school, Hood said.