Thieves leave mostly a mess at Longview food bank

Thieves leave mostly a mess at Longview food bank

LONGVIEW, Wash. – Stupid and senseless is how volunteers described Thursday morning's burglary at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank.

The thieves broke in to steal what's otherwise free to families in need.

The food bank doesn't keep money inside so volunteers don’t get why the thieves broke in to the warehouse.

Food bank volunteers spent the morning and afternoon cleaning up the mess inside. In the end the burglars broke more than they took.

"The window was broken, and when I reached for the door, it was unlocked," said volunteer Connie Bacon.

Bacon first discovered the thieves got in by smashing a pane of glass on the door then reaching through to the door's inner handle.
As Bacon grabbed the phone to get help, the shock set in.

"By then I was hyperventilating," she said. "I couldn't even remember our phone number by then, I'm serious, I was shaking, because it was frightening."

Despite her fear, Bacon said she foolishly walked the warehouse not knowing if the burglars were still there.

It turned out the place was empty, but Bacon found freezer doors wide open. She shut them immediately to prevent the meat inside from defrosting.

She found food flung on the floor, seemingly just to cause a mess. While the thieves missed out on money, they managed to steal two cases of soda pop, a birthday cake, and a box of costume jewelry, valued at $3 at most.

Both Bacon and food bank President John Gotshall hope any attention to the burglary brings some good.

"More people are going to be aware of the fact that we're here and what we do," Gotshall said.

Bacon added it's hard not to take the break-in personally.

"I started immediately praying for whoever did it, because I would hate to have something like that on my conscience," she said.

The food bank will reopen Friday morning with volunteers expected to serve nearly 200 families. Those clients will see fliers posted asking them to contact police if they know who broke in.