San Joaquin County’s Habitat for Humanity Faces Issues of Burglary and Illegal Dumping

STOCKTON -- Surveillance video caught people stealing from a Stockton nonprofit organization last Sunday.

The manager of Habitat for Humanity of San Joaquin County's ReStore got an alert on his phone and watched crooks stealing from a gated area behind the store in real time.

“To know that someone feels it's OK to go in and steal from a nonprofit, I kind of feel violated," said Ted Van Alen

Van Alen is the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of San Joaquin County. He says his store manager called 911 but police didn't make it in time to make an arrest.

“They came out and as they were driving to our location, the vehicle was leaving the location and police missed the vehicle in the process,” Van Alen said.

The thieves got away with tools and boxes of tile.

Van Alen says, unfortunately, the thefts at night aren't their only problem, people have been stealing from inside the store too.

“It's the people who are shopping every day that go through the store and find items that can fit in their pockets or their bags or whatever they're carrying,” he said.

The nonprofit has also been dealing with loads of illegal dumping.

All of these issues are costing them money.

“That right there is taking dollars away because we have to pay to dump it,” Van Alen said.

Money Van Allen says they would rather put to better use.

“The whole point of having our resale store for Habitat for Humanity San Joaquin County is to raise funds for us to build homes. The more homes we can build the more low-income families who have never had an opportunity to own a home can own a home,” he explained.

He wants thieves to know-- when they steal from them-- what they're really doing is stealing from families in need.

“Whether they steal a tool or part, whether they steal something they see of great value or if it's just worth five dollars what they're doing is impacting our ability to build homes for the low income,” Van Alen said.

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