Thief steals from rescue mission

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — Three break-ins in four nights — some crook is stealing items from the Bridgeport Rescue Mission, food and clothing and more that would have been given away to those in need this fall.

A thief keeps breaking into the warehouse where the mission keeps their donations. Friday night he got some electronics. Sunday night boxes of new sheets. Monday night’s haul was much bigger.

Exterior of Bridgeport Rescue Mission warehouse.
Exterior of Bridgeport Rescue Mission warehouse.

“You can see where he broke his crowbars, both of them, so he left them for us,” Terry Wilcox said has he showed News 8 what happened at the mission’s warehouse.

In the latest crime, the thief even used the mission’s own hand truck to cart his loot to a waiting truck. He was recorded on surveillance video. Part of his haul was two dozen boxes of brand new winter coats.

That’s thousands of dollars worth of coats that would have been given away to poor families this coming Thanksgiving. Also stolen were cases of meat and beans that would have gone to feed the hungry. Maybe the worst part, he left the door of the walk in freezer open, so food that would have been someone’s Thanksgiving dinner now won’t be.

“Right inside the door there’s a lot of frozen turkeys and other frozen meats that have begun to thaw, so we have to immediately use that,” Wilcox said.

Surveillance video shows man stealing from Bridgeport Rescue Mission, July , 2014.
Surveillance video shows man stealing from Bridgeport Rescue Mission, July , 2014.

The mission gives away thousands of meals a year through its soup kitchen and food trucks, and this is the time of year when donations are at their lowest. The mission has now lost the merchandise, it has pay for repairs to all the doors, and yes, the thief even took that hand truck. Unfortunately we can’t see his face or the truck on surveillance video. And remember, everything in this warehouse was going to be given away to the needy.

“This whole warehouse exists solely to collect donated clothing and food, proces it with volunteers and then give it away,” Wilcox said.

The mission is making improvements to its door and locks. We’re not going to tell you exactly what improvements in case the thief is watching. Fortunately a lot of the hardware is being donated, so that’s one less expense. But what this thief has really done is steal food out of the mouths and clothes off the backs of needy people.

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