EL CENTRO- Criminals have hit The Salvation Army in Imperial Valley.
They have stolen donations and vandalized property. Officials with the charity say money that’s collected from donations are funneled back into the community’s most needy.
But with thefts occurring, it’s making it harder to fund programs and pay their employees.
Major Jerry Esqueda says these thefts happen so often, it’s business as usual, but that doesn’t make it okay.
“It’s been an ongoing thing. Every day now, it’s like two or three times a week.”
“The theft has really hurt The Salvation Army.”
Thieves stole tires from the charity’s truck and switched them out for bald ones.
“This has cost the Salvation Army a lot of money….about $500.”
But it doesn’t stop there. Just two weeks ago, thieves stole donated items while Esqueda was unloading them from his car.
“My wife and I talked with them, tried to find out why they were doing this and if they needed any help, all they had to do was come into our office.”
Aside from the theft, vandals broke car mirrors and windows. Esqueda is doing everything he can to keep this from happening again.
“I do have someone now watching the property, making sure that nobody jumps over the fence and that no one steals anything, especially during this critical time.”
The Salvation Army would like to remind everyone to drop off donations during the day, from 8 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. to avoid more thefts.