Seventy-two hours after the third heist of the week targeting Christmas boxes for the city's families who need them the most, volunteers are trying to replace the stolen goods with new donations.
"We've been able to identify that they've taken a lot of clothing,” said Major Gene Hogg, the Salvation Army’s area commander, “They've taken some very high-end toys from that. They've taken some shoes from us. These types of things."
Evidence remains where burglars broke into an addition, which will house the first non-profit grocery store of its kind in the country, stealing a pair of expensive meat slicers, a generator and tools as well, but we've now learned police are processing security video, which may identify the heartless thieves.
"We've seen two young men. They came from this area. They came down,” said Hogg, “One was wearing sort of a camouflage-type hoody. The other had sort of a purplish-white sweatshirt on that came in. They came up to the building where the entry point was and we saw them kicking and then go in."
On this day, volunteers from Under Armour acted as elves helping to restock 133 families Christmas boxes that had been ransacked, and that company, along with other corporate sponsors and private citizens have offered to help with additional donations to help make up for the thefts.
"They're on Facebook. They're texting me. They're emailing me saying, 'What can we do? What can we do', and you know we will recover from this because God is faithful,” said Social Services Director Peggy Vick, “He will actionize other people to help us out."
It is a silver-lining after burglaries involving tens of thousands of dollars-worth of goods meant to help a community reeling in poverty.
"Unfortunately, this was a bad event, but when people were made aware of it through your viewers and so, people have responded,” said Hogg, “So we're looking with a positive hope that we're going to be able to meet all the promises that we've made to families here in the area."
The Salvation Army still plans to make Christmas a little brighter for 3,000 families in the city, and we're told the thefts should not impact the scheduled grand opening of the non-profit grocery store on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.