Burglars make Christmas go bust for city's needy

Thieves hit Salvation Army warehouse in Baltimore
Posted at 11:20 AM, Dec 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-04 11:20:48-05

It may look like any other warehouse, but the Salvation Army's building on East 29th Street is the closest thing to Santa's place at the North Pole for 3,000 needy families in Baltimore.

Now, Major Gene Hogg is surveying what's missing after the third burglary here in a week's time, including one on Thanksgiving Day.

"Each one of these boxes represent a family,” said Hogg, “and what we found this morning was through several of these lines, they went down through and went through the toys in each box and just laid them down here on the floor and took what they wanted."

And the thieves didn't stop after cherry picking the best gifts from every box.

They stole every new bicycle provided by a corporate donor, and then they looted a newly-renovated section of the building, which will house the first non-profit grocery store of its kind in the country---stealing tools, building materials and virtually anything that wasn't nailed down.

"They came in and cut copper.  We know they're just petty thieves who are coming in looking for drug money.  That's what they did.  They took a lot of our copper out,” said Hogg, “They took two of our meat slicers, our industrial meat slicers, because we plan on having a meat cutter here so we can give people individual service in our deli.  So right now, we're estimating about 25-to-30 thousand dollars that they've stolen from us thus far.

The thefts have robbed workers here of their charitable spirit...

"It stinks.  It makes us angry and upset," said Peggy Vick, the organization’s social services director.  

…while taking so much more from the very people they serve.

"These toys were given by the community to give to this community and these children,” said Hogg, “So when somebody breaks in, they're really not stealing from me or the Salvation Army.  They're really stealing from the children on Christmas Day and taking the toys away from them."

These crimes represent a slap in the face to anyone who has ever put money in the salvation army kettle, donated toys at an area mall for its angel tree program or for those on the receiving end of its generosity.

If you have any information on the criminals behind this, you're asked to call Baltimore police.