Alton greenhouse theft hurts senior service business

ALTON, Ill. – A greenhouse theft in Alton has come as a disappointing surprise to the executive director of Senior Services Plus.

Jonathan Becker said his agency is the largest provider of senior services in southern Illinois. He said someone stole equipment from the agency’s greenhouse last week.

The thief took aeration systems, PVC connectors, and grow lights, according to Becker. He said the thief also damaged the electrical system in the process. Becker estimates the damage is near $3,000.

“They’re not hurting so much our agency, but really the people that we serve,” he said.

A surveillance video showed the individual loading a cart with the items and then pushing the cart away. The theft was noticed Monday morning. Becker said it took place the morning after Thanksgiving.

“We saw somebody walk up pretty brazenly and take a cart, one of our own carts, and just filled up the cart and walked down the street I guess,” Becker said.

Becker said his agency was in the process of planting their winter crop and said the theft will now delay plans. Senior Services Plus grows organic food and sells it through a restaurant. The proceeds fund programs that result in hundreds of meals being delivered to senior citizens.

The agency also provides a wellness center and is expanding soon. Becker said he’s hopeful donations will help offset the damage and is also hoping the thief finds a way to avoid stealing in the future.

“I just hope there’s some help for somebody who is in a situation where they feel like they need to steal from an agency that really is just serving poor seniors,” said Becker. “I mean, I hope they get the help they need.”