Habitat for Humanity robbed in the holiday season

Authorities are investigating the thefts of $3,000 worth of power tools and valuable recycled materials
Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 6:02 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Green Bay police and the Brown County Sheriff’s Office are investigating not one but two thefts from a local non-profit.

One theft was from the ReStore’s metals recycling bin, which brings in substantial revenue for the non-profit. The other was from a locked and secured build site, where $3,000 worth of power tools were taken.

“They occurred within a week of each other,” Jessica Diederich, the CEO of Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity, said.

Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity says the thefts happened this holiday season -- and the impact is greater than just the value of what was stolen.

Diederich says the theft of some of their power tools has a ripple effect. They need these tools to build homes for local families in need. Without the tools, it can slow down their building progress.

“Unfortunately we haven’t been able to recover any of them, so we’ll be responsible for replacing them because our insurance deductible is $5,000 for the insurance company.”

The theft from the recycling bin is hitting volunteers especially hard.

“We have a group of volunteers that work to dismantle and recycle metal objects for us,” Diederich explained, “and those are from items that are maybe not working anymore, so we put those into a metal recycling bin and we use that to get a substantial amount of revenue for that and we keep things out a landfill, and the money goes back into building the houses. So there were volunteers who worked really hard on dismantling that piece that was stolen.”

The thefts are challenging and frustrating, and even more heartbreaking coming during the season of giving.

“It did slow us down a little bit. We’re reusing hand tools versus power tools, so we’re making adjustments. It’s not stopping us. We’re going to continue working, and we’ll get back on track soon enough so we’re not letting that damper our holiday spirit,” Diederich said.

The thefts are taking a toll on the hardworking volunteers and staff, but they’re staying focused on the good in our community, and Diederich said the organization’s already felt the support from the community.

“We have had a couple of people come forward with donations, and luckily because today is Giving Tuesday we’re really hoping to get more donations and use the funds to purchase the tools that we need.”

Giving Tuesday isn’t over yet, and thanks to a very generous local donor, Habitat for Humanity will receive a $20,000 match on the dollars that are raised Tuesday. Click here.