Thieves targeted the local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization recently, making off with about $5,400 in donated goods and items that had been purchased with donated funds.
Executive director Maureen Berlin said the theft was noticed on Wednesday, Nov. 26, when staff members tried to open a metal outbuilding in the back parking lot of the regional office on West Railway Street.
The employees discovered that their keys wouldn’t work on the padlock. Members of Abbotsford fire hall #6, located next to the Big Brothers office, then cut the lock for them.
This was when numerous items were discovered missing from the previously packed outbuilding.
They also noticed that the chain link fence next to the outbuilding had been cut open, through which the thieves would have transported the items up the hill behind the parking lot.
The culprits had replaced the padlock with one of their own, likely hoping to return and take more items at a later date.
Among the stolen goods were three Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley branded tents worth $900 each, folding tables, a barbecue, two coolers, a bin of photo booth props, donated gifts from sponsors, and hundreds of golf balls for their annual charity golf tournament.
Berlin said the agency had insurance but, even with the $500 deductible, not all the items will be covered.
As well, it will cost about $200 to repair the damaged fence.
“It is so sad this happened so close to the holiday season; it will affect the number of children we are able to serve in the new year and our ability to host fun events for our matches and fundraising/awareness events,” Berlin said.
She said the agency has also been affected by people dumping used items in their parking lot, likely hoping to donate them to a good cause.
In late November, the organization paid about $500 for the removal of numerous items including furniture that could not be used.
Berlin said donations are welcome, but people are asked to contact the Big Brother Renew Crew at 1-866-521-4393 to arrange pickup.
Those wanting to make a donation to help replace the stolen items are asked to call 604-852-3331 or visit the agency’s fundraising page at fundrazr.com/campaigns/fsbi2 on the BlackPress4Good crowdfunding site.