Thieves steal $18k in tools, supplies from charity

Concord police are looking for thieves targeted a food bank that was getting ready to expand its service.
November 1, 2013 12:46:01 PM PDT
Thieves stole about $18,000 worth of copper wire and pricey construction tools at the site of a new, unfinished building set to house a beloved Concord community group.

The Monument Crisis Center, which serves thousands of local families, is currently housed in a small building on Monument Boulevard and is set to move into a larger space still under construction on Market Street.

But a wrench was thrown into those plans on Tuesday night when someone broke into the construction site and stole roughly $18,000 in building supplies and tools, leaving none behind, according to police and Sandra Scherer, the center's executive director.

Workers arrived at the property Wednesday morning to find that someone had gotten over a security gate and busted open a locked steel door to steal the supplies.

Scherer said she and her small staff, construction workers and center regulars were "disheartened" and "traumatized" by the news.

"It's a widespread effort with some tight-knit support, so it really hit them in the gut," she said. "It's not just a job to them."

Police are investigating the break-in but so far have not located any suspects, according to Concord police Lt. Robin Heinemann.

Many of the tools stolen from the site were donated by construction workers who were also donating their time to the project, she noted.

The theft is a significant setback for the 10-year-old organization, which over the years has served about 13,500 local families with its food pantry and programs for children, teens, seniors and the homeless, Scherer said.

She said the center now serves about 5,000 families monthly with the food program and hundreds more for programs that include after-school tutoring and community services projects for juvenile offenders.

Construction on the new center on Market Street began last month and was slated for completion by the end of the year.

But that goal is now in jeopardy, and the organization that has prided itself in helping the community now needs more support than ever from its clients and other supporters, Scherer said.

Still, the Monument Crisis Center's staff, volunteers and clients are a resilient group, she said.

The building on Monument Boulevard was bustling with activity throughout this morning and afternoon as families picked up food donations and staff and volunteers prepared for a children's Halloween party.

Meanwhile, construction work on the new center was continuing today, although at a slower pace than planned, Scherer said.

She said the organization is considering hiring an unarmed security guard to man the construction site overnight, another costly consequence of the burglary.

Anyone with information about Tuesday night's break-in is asked to call Concord police at (925) 671-3220

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