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'We won't let that break our spirit': Crooks steal expensive tools, two trucks from nonprofit

SnowCap provides food and clothing to thousands of people in Gresham and East Portland. The stolen trucks were recovered Monday, but their tools are still missing.

GRESHAM, Ore. — SnowCap, a nonprofit that serves thousands of people in East Multnomah County, is asking for the public’s help after thieves broke into its food pantry over the weekend.

The burglary happened near Southeast 178th Avenue and Stark Street. The nonprofit, which provides food, clothing and other services to nearly 10,000 people a month, said two trucks were stolen along with thousands of dollars worth of tools. 

“It just feels like a real violation,” said SnowCap executive director, Kirsten Wageman. “The people we serve when they heard about this today, they were so disappointed.”

On Saturday night, security cameras showed two men pull up to the SnowCap building. They were driving a van that had been reported stolen from Warner Pacific University in Southeast Portland. 

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Over the next several hours, the men were seen stealing tools including leaf blowers, saws and pallet jacks worth around $5,000. Wageman said the crooks also stole the keys to their vehicle fleet. They stole a sprinter van and a box truck, each worth around $100,000.

“Those vehicles allow us to serve people,” said Wageman. “We visit low-income apartment complexes. We deliver food to seniors and folks with disabilities and folks who are unable to get here.”

On Monday afternoon, Snowcap got some encouraging news. An alert citizen had spotted the stolen van parked near Southeast 93rd and Caruthers. And then on Monday night, someone else spotted their stolen box truck a few blocks away from the nonprofit. Both were in good condition.

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Snowcap's stolen tools are still missing and they're facing thousands of dollars in damage as a result from the break-in. 

Wageman hopes the public will be on the lookout for the tools.

“You know we won't let that break our spirit,” said Wageman. “Any help that folks can offer we're very grateful for.” 

Those interested in donating to SnowCap may do so here.

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