UNION — Anyone caught stealing donated items from the loading dock at the Salvation Army’s Union Family Store not only faces the possibility of arrest and prosecution, but also the loss of any of the services provided by the organization.
Located at 215 S. Mountain St., Union, the Salvation Army Union Family Store accepts donations of clothing, shoes, books, furniture and other items which it resells to raise money for the services provided by the Salvation Army in Union County.
Beryl Collier, store manager, said Wednesday that the store has been having problems with persons stealing donated items left on the dock after hours.
“We accept donations, usually during business hours Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and we’re closed on Sundays,” Collier said. “We have a number of people who feel a sense of entitlement, literally, to what’s on the back dock. I think that they think that what’s on that dock is trash or unwanted goods. What it is actually is donated goods people drop off after hours. It’s a problem, it really is.”
Collier said that when they steal donated items from the back dock, people undercut the Salvation Army’s ability to help the needy of Union County.
“We are the kind of business that’s here to serve the needs of the people and the community,” Collier said. “We feed people, we provide clothing vouchers, we help them with their bills. Everything we make here goes back in to serve those needs. So when they steal from that back dock, when they steal our donations, they’re stealing from the community and the services we provide.”
In addition to theft, Collier said some of those who have stolen items from the dock have also committed the crimes of vandalism and child endangerment.
“It’s gotten to the point where people take it for granted, it’s gotten out of hand,” Collier said. “We’ve had people use crowbars to break the locks on our trash cans. They put their children in the dumpsters to get stuff out. They are not only vandalizing our property they are also endangering their children.”
Collier said that there have been a number of cases where people who have stolen donated goods from the back dock have then turned around and sought the services of the Salvation Army.While they may think there’s nothing wrong with what they are doing, Collier said those who steal from off the dock are breaking the law and, if identified, will be prosecuted. She said they will not only be reported to the police but a no trespassing order will be issued against them, barring them from legally setting foot on the property. Collier said this will not only prevent them from coming to the store, but will also bar them from getting the services provided by the Salvation Army.
Capt. Donnie Marvels, commanding officer for the Salvation Army in Union and Spartanburg counties, said that the Salvation Army will prosecute anyone caught stealing. He also called upon those who are considering stealing or have stolen to consider the impact of their actions on those in need and, in the case of those who involve their children in their thefts, the danger they are placing their children.
“The Salvation Army is here to give a hand up rather than a hand out and when people take from the Salvation Army it limits what we can do,” Marvels said. “I would ask someone to think about a child who is in need of a meal or about the 200 families we just served Angel Tree to. Take in consideration these opportunities that the Salvation Army gives and please refrain from taking anything off the back dock or putting children’s lives in danger by putting them inside the garbage cans. You never know, there could be a snake or a opossum in that can.”
For more information about the Salvation Army Union Family Store and the services offered by the Salvation Army call 427-0656.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.