Less than a month from Christmas and thieves in West Alabama have stolen thousands of dollars worth of items that were to be given to families in need. All of the items were taken Sunday night from Operation HomeCare in York.
Mike Hughes volunteers at the agency.
'They were going to wipe us out slap clean!'
That's almost what the burglars did.
'We had about 45 to 50 of mattresses and they got all of them except for two,' says Hughes.
Also taken were about ten pallets that each contained 48 cases of water, about ten pallets of tissue, other pallets that were packed with buckets filled with cleaning supplies, almost a dozen pallets of bleach, and some pallets filled with brand new baby clothes and food.
'They were staging it at the door and I guess they were going to come back and get it because they actually stole tarps to cover up all the merchandise that they stole,' says Cynthia Brooks, who is the director for Operation HomeCare.
Also stolen were brand new appliances, furniture and other necessities to furnish the houses of two fire victims and two victims from last year's tornado outbreak. Costing thousands of dollars in all, Brooks says the items for the four families had been donated by a nursing association out of New York.
'So, I don't know where I can turn to for Christmas now."
'They had to have gained access with this window and they loaded the items through the opposite door on the opposite side of the building,' says York Police Chief Brian Harris.
Almost 2 days after the burglary and there are still signs of what happened. A pack of nails, which police believe the burglars used to nail down a stolen tarp from the building, were discovered nearby. Also faint tracks, that officers believe are from the suspects' vehicle, are still visible. Investigators speculate that the vehicle or vehicles used in the burglary were backed up to a side door so that the thieves could load the stolen items.
"It had to be a truck and trailer and it had to be multiple people in order to get the things that were taken out of the building,' says Chief Harris.
Anyone with information on the burglary is asked to call the York Police Department at (205) 392-5261.
Operation HomeCare is a non-profit organization in York, Alabama. Founded seven years ago, it helps meet the needs of people in need in Sumter County. Because of the burglary, the agency's supply is virtually depleted. Anyone interested in donating to Operation HomeCare can call (205) 392-9292.