LANCASTER — A weekend break-in at Grace Resources resulted in tents and pop-ups being stolen, officials said.
The theft happened around 1:30 a.m. Sunday when a man and woman broke into the building known as The Barn on the property at 45134 Sierra Highway, executive director Jeremy Johnson said.
“We’re trying to shore up this barn like nobody’s interested, and they found a weak spot where they could break wood and crawl, and then they could open the doors from inside,” he said. declared.
The barn is used by Grace Resources partly for storage and partly as a kind of store with goods donated to center clients, including clothes, toys and other items.
The duo took six pop-up tents – used as shade for the center’s outdoor activities – donated clothes and other items. They also had a cart full of regular tents that are given out to ready-to-go customers, but something must have scared them because it was left behind, Johnson said.
“They also really tore the place up and threw things all over the place and made a pretty big mess in there,” he said, all within about 10 minutes they were inside.
Grace Resources officials reviewed security footage of the break-in and recognized the woman as a client they serve regularly and had in fact given away free clothes, two days earlier.
“I think she knew where things were,” he said.
In the days following the break-in, staff at the center were able to repair and reinforce the area where the break-in occurred, and they put padlocks on the inside of the doors, so that would-be burglars wouldn’t could not open them to escape with goods.
The break-in is the first in about two years that the center has installed a security fence.
“These people climbed over a wrought iron fence, on our doorstep from the Sierra Freeway,” Johnson said. “I don’t know how they did that without hurting themselves.”
As the couple managed to get the stolen goods over the door, “they left a trail of clothes on the Sierra Highway,” he said.
Johnson said no police report was filed because when he called the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department about the incident, he was told it would be four to five hours before that a deputy can be there to take a report.
“I just didn’t have anyone sitting here during that time on a Sunday,” he said.
They also did not file an insurance claim, he said.
The burglary comes at a particularly difficult time for Grace Resources, as it has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people requesting services while donations are down.
The center is serving 42% more people now than it did last year, which was the most people it has ever helped, Johnson said.
“Our numbers are skyrocketing right now,” he said, as the economic downturn has led to fewer donations because people don’t have the same disposable income.
“The timing probably couldn’t have been worse,” Johnson said. “But we have already gone through difficult seasons financially.”
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