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Criminals steal kayaks, paddle boards from nonprofit helping children with autism

Thieves target non-profit that helps disabled kids
Posted at 9:58 PM, Nov 05, 2019

Thieves stole five kayaks, six paddle boards, paddles, and other items from the Freedom Sailing Camp, a nonprofit organization that helps children with autism.

The founder of the nonprofit tells ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska she is overwhelmed.

"I'm questioning why? Why would people do something to a program like this? Why would they steal our equipment? Why would they hurt these kids like this?" Bonnie Monroe asked.

Monroe said she used to store all of the equipment on her lawn in Clearwater but was recently told she would be fined unless it was removed. Monore says the manager of Southern Comfort Vehicle, RV, and Boat Storage on U.S. 19 gave her a good deal to store the trailer and other sailboats.

"They dragged it out of the trailer and up over the fence," Monroe said. "They had wooden planks on the other side, so they set them up, so all they had to do was pull the equipment and slide it down the other side."

The fenced-in storage facility is next to an abandoned trailer park called Southern Comfort trailer park.

"They had wooden planks on the other side, so they set them up, so all they had to do was pull the equipment and slide it down the other side," Monroe said.

On Tuesday morning, Monroe said she found some of her stolen items near the fence line.

The manager of the storage facility told us he lives on the property, but didn't see or hear anything suspicious.

Monroe said all of the items were donated through her nonprofit. Now she is trying to figure out her next step.