Thieves targeting charity donation centers

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – If you're thinking about making a last-minute donation before the end of the year tax deadline, NBC12 has uncovered a warning: thieves are targeting drop-off sites!  It is difficult to imagine how anyone could steal from a charity. That's why one man called NBC12 to warn fellow donors.

After seven o'clock, Goodwill donation sites are locked and closed for the night. But overnight people are dropping off their items underneath trucks in the hope Goodwill employees will collect them in the morning. Lately, however, that hasn't been the case.

Steve Boyd was trying to do a good deed.

"I dropped my stuff off right here and this whole area was lined with donations," he described the scene at the site at Gayton Crossing.

When he drove by the center around midnight, something didn't seem right.

"I noticed a big white truck with their headlights on facing the road and I saw a man moving around behind it," he told us.

So he stopped by again Thursday morning before the trailer re-opened and was shocked by what he found or didn't find for that matter.

"There was absolutely nothing here," he recalled.

It was a lesson reinforced the hard way.

The message to donors is clear on signs at the centers. They say "thank you for donating during open hours." There's also a note to any potential thieves that says "stealing from this donation site is a crime" and that notice is marked on all the trucks. It says "items left at this site are property of Goodwill Industries. Please do not remove."

Goodwill Vice President of Donated Goods Bill Carlson said thieves are targeting donations that are dropped off outside those 8am to 7pm hours.

"When people come by to make donations just as Steve did, he intended it to be for a mission of goodwill and when it doesn't get there that's frustrating for those donors, as well," Carlson told NBC12.

Carlson explained the organization is working with police, but there are challenges in securing items left outside the trailers.

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