Thieves caught on camera stealing from The Samaritan Center
Officials say the items taken had been donated to the non-profit to help families in need.
Thieves targeted The Samaritan Center off of Lee Highway in Ooltewah on Monday night. Officials say the items taken had been donated to the non-profit to help families in need.
Surveillance cameras captured the theft in progress. It shows two unidentified women pull into the donation center and then load their truck with the items before driving away.
"That's awful," said customer Megan Dally. " Don't know how anyone could do that."
Megan Dally. a mother of two, is one of many who depend on the Samaritan Center's discounts to make ends meet.
"I came here today with 15 dollars and I'm having the time of my life because I know I can get 14 times," said another customer.
The Samaritan center sells donated items at a heavily discounted price, saving families thousands of dollars. Officials say every donation counts, that's why the after hours theft is such a big deal.
"They just rolled their truck right in here they unloaded one or 2 items then they went and started going through the donations and basically cherry picking what they thought was of most value," said Eddie Schwisow, The Samaritan Center.
The women got away with a truck load of donations, some furniture and bags of clothes.
"It's taking from the community as a whole and different families... it's taking from little children," said Dally.
Officials with the center say they would have helped the pair, if they had only asked.
"Of course, we're disappointed because we're here to help people and if they're on the margin and they need help, we would have helped them if they came into our offices," said Schwisow. " Instead they chose to steal."
"There's enough here for everybody and if you need help this is the place to be, but there is a procedure," said another customer. " You don't go through the back door, you come through the front."
The Samaritan Center doesn't want the theft to discourage anyone else from donating after hours. They say they'll monitor cameras and hire off duty police officers if needed.
If you have any information that can help investigators call the Chattanooga Police Department at 423-698-2525.