Pasco County deputies are searching for thieves who stole a trailer full of toys and food intended to help those in need.
The grinches stole a trailer from Keystone Community Church in Lutz on Tuesday. Deputies say it happened in the middle of the night, sometime between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Donations inside the trailer were estimated at $4,500 and were slated to go to the Holiday Tent in Pasco County and Tampa. “Our church really has two goals. We keep it simple; we love God and we love others. This was our way to love others,” said Pastor Gary Edwards.
Edwards said whoever stole the items was likely looking for a trailer. He said the one taken was newly renovated by the church and was worth $5,000. “There are people who don’t have good hearts and evidently wanted something that wasn’t theres,” Edwards said.
“This is a tragic event,” said Metropolitan Ministries Senior Director of Outreach and Prevention Services Karl Celestine. “So many people in our community depend on us to make their Christmas just a little brighter, and for someone to infringe on those efforts by stealing an entire trailer full of donations simply breaks our hearts.”
For the past month they’ve been collecting toys, gifts and food for hungry and needy families in the bay area. While it's heartbreaking for church members it's also upsetting to students at local schools who hosted collection and toy drives for the church.
Senior Jesse Reed spent two weeks volunteering. “There’s no real words to express how wrong this is, but at the same time we know people in the community can definitely give back,” he said.
While a suspect is still out there, Pastor Edwards says he hopes they will somehow find it in their heart to return what they stole. “However you can, get it back to us. We would love just to help families this season.”
Metropolitan Ministries said it's already short more than 6,000 gifts for teen boys and girls and infant toys.
After hearing about what happened, local law firm Winters and Yonkers donated $4,500 to save christmas for these families.
While this is a great start, the church will continue their donation collection through the weekend, until Tuesday, December 22nd.
You can help those in need at these donation locations: