OGDEN, Utah, Aug. 27, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — The hole in the fence is repaired, the space where the gate used to be is now blocked, and the security cameras have been installed.
Things are pretty much back to normal at the Ogden ReStore — except for the truck with the punctured gas tank and the loss of several hundred dollars’ worth of items.
The Ogden ReStore, a Habitat for Humanity home improvement thrift store and donation center at 3111 Wall Ave., was looted three times in one week this month when thieves made their way into the yard where larger items are stored before being moved into the shop.
“There were three separate incidents that we know of,” store manager Sherri Jones told Gephardt Daily. “It started the night of Aug. 13. That was a Monday.”
When Jones and the staff came to work on Tuesday morning, they noticed that the table saw they used to cut trim out in the yard was missing one of its extension tables.
“I kind of thought, well, things happen. But the morning after that, the whole saw and the other extension table were gone,” she said ruefully. A miter saw was also missing.
The yard is fenced and always locked at night, so Jones did a close inspection of the area and found a hole cut into the fence and bushes removed to make access easier.
“And a snowblower was gone, too. They cut the chain and lock from the back fence,” she said.
Jones walks around the huge yard, pointing out the section of fence that’s cocked sideways, the corner where the hole had been cut, and the spot where the table saw once was.
What’s striking is that all along the fence are piles of rocks, piles of wood, a hodge-podge of makeshift barriers extending several feet into the yard — and the thieves had to carry the stolen goods over all of it to get it out.
But the third, and most disturbing, incident occurred over the weekend.
“Friday night is the last time our truck gets used each week. It’s the truck we use to pick up donations,” Jones said. “Well, on Tuesday, the tank was empty, so the guys went to fill it up and the gas just ran right out of the tank onto the ground.”
The thieves had punctured the commercial truck’s tank and siphoned the gas, leaving the ReStore staff without a vehicle to pick up the larger items people want to donate.
“This felt personal,” Jones said. “It’s bad enough taking stuff out of the yard, but to steal gas out of our truck…”
The staff put a patch on the gas tank, but the truck still isn’t safe to drive any distance.
“It’s a specialty tank, and costs $2,700 to repair. So we’re looking at the truck, trying to decide if it’s worth it to repair the tank or try to get a different truck,” Jones said.
In the meantime, they’re trying to find other ways to pick up the donations of new and “gently used” appliances and building materials that make up the thrift store’s inventory.
The items that were stolen are valued at $500 to $700 total, which may not sound like a huge amount of money. Even the cost of a new gas tank may sound manageable. But Jones said every dollar that comes into the Ogden ReStore, except for operating expenses, goes to Habitat for Humanity to help build houses for people who are in need.
The store is also popular with folks who are remodeling or redecorating on a budget.
Ogden ReStore has a Facebook page with more information about the store and Habitat for Humanity. It also has a link for making donations.
Anyone who has any information regarding the thefts from the ReStore’s yard or the damage to the truck is asked to call Ogden Police dispatch at 801-629-8221.