ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Stealing from a non-profit. Habitat for Humanity St. Louis is in a bind after $13,000 worth of construction equipment was stolen from construction sites in a South City neighborhood.
The pricey tools were taken just a few days apart, from two home-building locations in Carondelet. With a 60-person Mother’s Day build coming up this weekend, the Habitat staff is desperate to get their tools back.
When these Carondelet houses are completed, they’ll become homes for very appreciative families.
“For folks that wouldn’t be able to afford a house traditionally, this gives them an alternative to homeownership and really is a stepping stone for them,” explains Habitat Construction Director Kyle Hunsberger.
Now, the lack of tools has left staff members scrambling to gather tools from other sites across the city. If the equipment is never recovered, unfortunately, it will ultimately cost the Habitat homebuyers.
“We don’t have the overhead to make those compensations,” Hunsberger says, “A hit like this makes an impact on the number of houses and number of families we can serve on a regular basis.”
The situation saddens Habitat CEO Kimberly McKinney, who takes pride in her organization: “A mission like ours, of trying to do the right thing and providing quality, affordable housing, really, building hope within communities, to have things like this happening is a little disheartening.”
McKinney says police are investigating some leads. She’s also hoping the public will help catch the crooks. Staff members clearly labeled each tool with “HFHSL” or “HFHSTL,” which they hope will ultimately help the investigation, and help the public recognize the tools if they happen to be spotted.
McKinney urges, “If they see or hear anything around our site, to certainly notify the police, and for those out there that maybe have our tools or see our tools for sale, that they’ll contact us because they’ll want to do the right thing.”
To prevent future thefts, Habitat is working with a security company to install some surveillance at their work sites.