$11,000 worth of goods for foster care kids stolen from nonprofit's San Ramon storage unit

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Thursday, July 13, 2023
$11K worth of goods for foster kids stolen from Bay Area storage unit
A San Ramon storage unit that was broken into in June had more than $11,000 worth of gear set aside for kids in foster care stolen.

SAN RAMON, Calif. (KGO) -- San Ramon police say they have a "solid lead" after a string of storage units were broken into at the end of last month.

One of those units had more than $11,000 worth of gear set aside for kids in foster care stolen.

From kids' clothing, blankets, backpacks, sneakers and even personal hygiene items -- missing from meticulously labeled and once organized bins inside a storage unit at the Extra Space Storage facility on Deerwood Road in San Ramon.

"We got there, the lock was cut, opened the door and it was just -- the bins were empty. Half of our stuff was gone," said Lisa Henderson, president and CEO of Set to Thrive. "It was very hard, it was. It's just taking away from the kids in foster care. That's what it's taking away from."

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Set to Thrive is a nonprofit meant to ease the transition for kids going into the foster care system or transitioning into a new home. Henderson says around $11,000-worth of gear for kids, set aside for what they call "thrive bags," was taken from the NPO's San Ramon storage unit back on June 23.

"A lot of times they don't pack the right things. They are either given a trash bag or a pillow case if they don't have a bag," Henderson said. "Sometimes it can take a while for the county to give them a clothing budget so we really kind of are just bridging that gap and making sure they have the supplies they need."

All of their bags are special ordered by social workers in both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, on short notice, which Henderson will typically turn around in just 24 hours.

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"Because I want them to be able to go into their new home, their new schools, sometimes, and just have that confidence, that tiny little bit more of confidence," she said.

Extra Space Storage said they are supporting authorities on their investigation.

"Safety is a top priority at Extra Space, and this was an unusual break-in at a historically very safe store. We will review our security efforts at this facility to find where we can improve in the future," said McKall Morris, a spokesperson for Extra Space Storage.

"It was very sad because we've worked really hard for these donations," Henderson said.

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San Ramon Police Chief Denton Carlson says Henderson's unit was one of eight at the storage facility on Deerwood Road broken into at the same time.

"Based on the evidence that we found at the location, we were able to identify the person that may be involved had traveled through San Ramon at certain times. So, using our citywide camera network, as well as surveillance from a local retailer, we were able to identify a solid lead in this case," Carlson said.

And now, they're focused on finding the suspect and recovering the lost items.

"We don't want to put out too much information, because our ultimate goal is if we can get the property back for this nonprofit in the good work that we're doing out there, we want to make sure that that happens," he said.

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But until that happens, Henderson's work continues, with multiple new orders for thrive bags rolling in daily -- and a new need, for even more donations.

"I don't want this to bring us down. This is not going to stop us from doing what we're doing, we're going to continue to thrive and grow," she said. "It's just a setback but we're going to recover.

Set to Thrive is continuing to collect donations through their website here.

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