Crooks steal Habitat tools
On the Web
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A local organization that has helped so many is now in need of help.
Habitat for Humanity depends on volunteers who donate their time and energy to build homes in an effort to help many people achieve the dream of home ownership.
On Thursday, volunteers with Habitat for Humanity of Broward County came out to the Rock Island Oaks community in Fort Lauderdale, where 30 homes were built back in March.
Upon arrival, however, the volunteers discovered that the lock on a large container was broken, and the power tools inside, which Habitat uses to build homes across Broward, were stolen. Perry Ecton, the executive director of Habitat Broward, said, "All the tools inside were missing: power tools, including table saws, chop saws, compressors, ladders, hammers, tool pouches. They took everything."
Thousands of dollars' worth of tools were stolen, and according to Ecton, the thieves used a grinder to gain access to the pricey items. "There were shavings on the ground and the lock was on the ground," he said.
"They need to be punished," said Habitat homeowner Richard Thomas. Thomas is a Habitat homeowner and has lived in his house for about a month.
According to Thomas, he drove by the container on his way out of the neighborhood on Wednesday night. "I saw a white van parked down there by the container. I didn't know exactly what they were doing because I thought they were a part of the crew that was here," he said.
Thomas, like all other Habitat homeowners, had to provide sweat equity by assisting in the construction of his home. He said, "To see somebody come in and steal something, that hurts."
Ecton said Habitat hopes the stolen tools, which are equipped with the Habitat for Humanity logo, will eventually turn up at a pawn shop or a flea market. He also had this message for the thieves responsible: "As they say, when you're standing in front of the gates of heaven, it's Judgment Day. When the lever gets pulled and you're going downstairs, you've got my blessing."
A new lock has since been placed on the container.
The last five homeowners in the development were scheduled to move into their new homes in mid-July; however, the theft has caused the move-in date to be pushed back to late July.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of the thieves responsible, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
And if you can donate any tools to Habitat for Humanity, visit their website linked above.
(Copyright 2012 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)