MANDEVILLE, LA. (WVUE) – Thieves stole thousands of dollars in tools from Habitat for Humanity on the north shore. Employees for the nonprofit said the theft has caused work to pause on several homes under construction for families in need.
In the overnight hours of Aug. 23, a fenced-in storage area was broken into on the property of Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West. The storage area contained multiple construction trucks and tool trailers.
“They took probably 15 to 20 of our drills, so that limits our production,” said construction manager for Habitat STW Cody Ray. “So now we don’t have any drills or tools for our volunteers to come and use.”
Ray said everything needed to build a house was stored in those trailers. The thieves took it all — $5,000 worth of tools.
“Just the massive amount of money we were going to have to put out for this,” said Ray. “And I know we have donors who are looking to help out but that’s taking away from our fundraisers for families we’re trying to get into houses and every little bit helps here.”
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Department is conducting an investigation in hopes of locating the stolen items.
“Any crime is bad enough, but it’s disheartening when people would target a business whose only job is to help others in the community,” said Captain Chad Hartzog with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office property crimes division. “So we’re going to leave no stone unturned in trying to solve this case.”
For now, the construction crews do not have the tools necessary to work on the seven homes currently under construction.
“We don’t really make any money on the houses we sell,” said Ray. “We rely heavily on donors to give us money, time, labor and materials to work with and all that is is when we do have a theft like that, it takes away from everybody.”
Since 1981, Habitat STW has built and sold 294 new homes to low-income members of our community. This year, Habitat STW has a goal to build and sell 10 additional new homes this fiscal year.
To help Habitat STW or to donate, click here.
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