Whoever stole $1,000 worth of gift cards from the Sources Langley Food Bank sold one worth $500 to a unwary shopper who discovered the card had been cancelled when they tried to use it.
“They (the shopper) bought it from someone on the street,” said food bank manager Bruce Strom.
The cards were quickly cancelled after the Dec. 10 theft was discovered, but not fast enough to prevent someone from using about $200 worth, Strom said.
About $100 had been legitimately used by food bank volunteers to buy perishable goods for the once-a-week distribution at the former United Church on 200 Street.
After being advised of the theft, Save-On-Foods cancelled the cards, then issued $1,200 in replacements, Strom said.
The Dec. 10 theft of the cards marked the start of a difficult 72 hours for the food bank.
On Friday, Dec. 11, the big panel van the food bank uses to collect donations and pick up purchases was stolen.
On Saturday, Dec. 12, someone used the gas card for the van to buy more than $1,300 worth of diesel gas from a Clearbrook gas station.
The van was found abandoned and damaged beyond repair in Aldergrove later that same morning.
It all happened shortly after the food bank discovered that its only other vehicle, a smaller van, needed about $5,000 in repairs and would have to be scrapped.
When the news broke, the response from the community was immediate.
A group of businesses, led by Langley real estate developer Newmark Group, along with Canadian Truck and Car Rental in Langley, Mr. Lube in Langley and Dawn Construction in Surrey, purchased a one-ton cube van.
The smaller truck has been replaced by the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB).
And more than $20,000 was donated along with several other (loaned) service vehicles.