PALMETTO, Fla. — For the past four months, the executive director of Downtown Ministries says they’ve been dealing with chronic vandalism and on Wednesday morning, what’s usually a big mess, took a turn for the disgusting.
“It is more than an annoyance now because we’ve now escalated into urinating as well, so it’s hard to imagine this could get worse,” Executive Director Christine Monroe-Loomes said. “It’s a little shocking, but we don’t really know the motivation.”
Monroe-Loomes said she got to their warehouse in Palmetto located off of 8th Avenue West and pulled up to a disaster area.
“What they ended up doing is emptying the trash can, like they usually do, but this time on the pile of mess that they made then urinated all over it. And that includes, I think, targeting our door because it looks like it came under the door as well,” Monroe-Loomes said.
Monroe-Loomes said they’ve been targeted at least twice a week for the past four months. So now on top of working 16 hours a day and doing multiple outreaches to feed the homeless in Bradenton, they are cleaning up trash, food, and now human waste outside the entrance to their warehouse.
The vandals have taken old eggs that were donated but thrown away and smashed them into the ground. Donuts were smooshed into the pavement, and other items have like cardboard ripped to shreds and left outside.
Monroe-Loomes said other businesses in the area had not been targeted. She doesn’t know why a ministry that helps people in need would be singled out.
“We would like to come here to a safe, clean environment for sure,” Monroe-Loomes said.
Monroe-Loomes is asking the public to keep an eye out and for Palmetto police to increase patrols in the area. In the meantime, she will be checking to see if other businesses in the area with surveillance cameras captured a glimpse of who did it. And, she plans to try and get some cameras of her own installed right over the door the vandals continue to target.
“Anyone that knows our ministry knows that if anyone asks for help, there is no one we wouldn’t help,” Monroe-Loomes said. “So, if it is just a matter of food all they would have to do is ask.”
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