DOUGLAS — Frustration over theft and the illegal dumping of unsellable items at the St. Vincent de Paul on G Avenue in Douglas is increasing to the point the Douglas Police Department is now getting involved.
When Nancie Ames, president of the St. Vincent de Paul board, reported to work at SVDP recently, there were five smelly and stained mattresses along with several bags of clothes that had been gone through earlier and then just left on the ground. One of the bags of clothes had been taken across the street to Sixth Street where it had been sorted through and then just left on the curb.
Ames states that while the smelly mattresses were there, a bed frame that had been dropped off was missing. Video surveillance shows a white king cab truck unloading the mattresses and a red Nissan Titan taking the bed frame in addition to a nice mattress that had been dropped off the night before.
Ames states she has turned the video footage over to the DPD and she will file theft and trespassing charges against the individuals shown in the video if an arrest is made.
Theft and the disposal of items not suitable for resale has been an ongoing issue for years, she admits.
“We are doing our best to try and provide services to those in the community that need assistance,” Ames said. “One of the things we depend on is getting nice donations because those items are what we turn around and sell. That money helps us to be able to provide food and help people with utilities.
“Lately we’re finding a couple of things happening. People are dumping totally trashed items that we cannot use. That is forcing us to then pay to take those items to the dump to get rid of them. We get a lot of trash every day.”
Ames said people are donating good items after hours which are then oftentimes stolen before they can be brought inside the building, cleaned and then resold.
“We accept donations Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.” she said. “That gives us an opportunity to pull them into the store and get them out of the parking lot. We’ve had people stop by late Saturday or on a Sunday when we are closed and leave really nice things and somebody else will come along later and take it. We’re losing a lot of the real nice donations and being left basically with a lot of trash.”
Ames says St. Vincent often receives stoves, refrigerators and other large appliances that don’t work.
“We’d really like to be able to take those nice donations, those gently used items and turn around and sell them which will then allow us to help those in need in our community.,” she said. “We’re trying to avoid having to go to the dump several times a week and pay to get rid of people’s trash.”
Ames is asking the community to please stop bringing items to SVDP that don’t work or can’t be resold and to please dispose of those items themselves instead of leaving them to pay the disposal bill.
Ames states it’s gotten to the point they have enhanced their video surveillance and are sending one to two videos a week to the DPD for possible prosecution.
“If we can prosecute, we will,” she said. “I’d like us to remember we should be conscientious neighbors. We care about each other and we just want to help take care of people who don’t have all the benefits that many of us have. We’re asking people to be respectful of our property and to call us if they have a donation. We’re happy to come by and pick it up and to please not bring things and just leave if here and ask us to be the ones responsible for disposing of it.”
The store number at St. Vincent de Paul is 520-364-3637. Leave a message should there be no answer. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
People who donate items can receive a tax receipt which can then be used on their taxes if they desire, Ames states.
“We’re asking the people of Douglas to please help us so that we may be able to help others,” she said. “We can also use volunteers. If you can spare a couple of hours a month we’d like to hear from you.”