Oshawa meals financial institution warehouse ‘set again’ after theft, theft of refrigerated van

A local charity that helps with food donations across Durham Region is in need of help after thieves made off with critical, and expensive, operational equipment.

Suspects broke into the warehouse run by Feed the Need in Durham early Thursday.

“They attempted to go in through our main overhead door,” said Ben Earle, executive director of the organization. Earle says after trying to force their way through a garage door, they managed to open the one right beside it, gaining access to the facility.

“Our team came in the morning and saw that boxes and our forklift were moved. It’s usually parked in the corner, but it had been moved to the other side of the warehouse,” said Earle.

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Durham police say it happened around 6 am, and thieves managed to take tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

“It’s disappointing. We know people are struggling, and when they struggle, they make bad decisions,” said Earle.

After they ransacked some boxes with the forklift, they hit the office, leaving the desks bare — taking computers and even the cables. But the big blow — a brand new refrigerated van worth $80,000.

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“It took (us) a lot of work and effort to get that, and fundraising and donors as well. So it’s disappointing to have that loss and we’re going to have to figure out how to replace it.”

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The van just purchased this year is a white 2021 Ford. Police say It was spotted later that morning around 11:30 am

“Officers did locate that van a few hours later,” says Sgt. Joanne Bortoluss. “A police pursuit was initiated, however, it was called off due to public safety concerns,” she said.

Police say the driver of the van is described as a man between 30 and 40 years old. The van’s license plate is BN89033.

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With nearly $100,000 worth of goods taken in the robbery, Earle says it’s going to have an impact on the food bank as demand has skyrocketed throughout the pandemic.

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“We’re now serving between 9- and 10-thousand people each month,” he says. “Incidents like this set back that work a bit.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers.

Click to play video: 'Durham Region food banks report rising demand, dropping donations'

Durham Region food banks report rising demand, dropping donations

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