Thieves testing mettle of Habitat for Humanity in Comox Valley

Thieves have stolen twice in the past couple of weeks from a well-known, local non-profit organization.

One of the many ways Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North generates money to make its housing projects possible is by recycling scrap metal at its Courtenay ReStore. In the past couple of weeks, thieves have hit the store up twice for these valuables, according to Habitat's local volunteer co-ordinator Karen Bezaire.

"They're stealing from Habitat," says Bezaire, noting volunteers spend time each day preparing these scrap metals like aluminum, copper and lead for recycling. "So, they're stealing from their community, they're stealing from people who receive homes — and we're just shocked that this is happening."

ReStore manager Kelly Burleigh says the chain link fence around the property was cut to gain access, and the lock on the shed housing the metal was cut. She estimates about $175 worth of metal was stolen.

"We had just taken it all in (for recycling) so that's why they only got what they got," she adds. "Had they come in before we had taken it in and sold it, they probably would have got about $1,000."

The Comox Valley RCMP were notified after the first theft, which was around Feb. 17, according to Bezaire. A security camera, says Bezaire, is too expensive an item for the non-profit organization to purchase.

She says a shipping container would be a more secure holding place for the scrap metal and is hoping a business may have one it could donate to the ReStore.

Bezaire also asks the public to keep an eye out for any suspicious-looking activity in the area, and to call the ReStore at 250-334-3777 or the Comox Valley RCMP at 250-338-1321 if they have any information.


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