Burglars broke into the Graham Area Food Pantry at an undetermined time between Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning. The Graham Police Department was on the scene to investigate at 8:30 Thursday morning.
Food pantry volunteer Kenneth Huffman arrived for his daily duties at 6:30 a.m. Thursday and discovered the electricity was off in the building. He called Graham Area Food Pantry Director Don Oldfield, and they realized that the pantry was the only building without electricity. Oldfield and Huffman investigated and saw that the breaker had been flipped and discovered that at least five deep freezers had been broken into and numerous goods were stolen.
The locks on at least three freezers had been broken, and Oldfield said that about 2,000 pounds of meat, including venison, turkey breasts and ham, were stolen from the pantry.
“Last Wednesday and yesterday I picked up a lot of turkey breasts and hams for Christmas, and that's what upsets me the most, that they're taking from needy people,” Oldfield said.
Additionally, the doors to the Graham Backpack Buddies and food pantry/clothes closet offices were kicked open, and two printers, a paper shredder and a power strip were stolen. It appeared that the burglars also rummaged through paperwork.
“They didn't steal the carts, so at least we can go out and deliver (food),” said Kerrie Ribble of Graham Backpack Buddies, a program that delivers food to about 140 needy children in Graham. “It's heartbreaking that people don't have a sense of morals.”
Those who see anything suspicious should call the Graham Police Department at (940) 549-6441.
“I hope that's (the stolen meat) what gives them away,” Oldfield said. “Someone's going to figure out that we're missing a lot and that they're giving out a lot (of meat),” Oldfield said.
To donate food for the holiday season, stop by the food pantry Thursday, Dec. 19, or call Huffman at (940) 550-4006.
The pantry will be closed at the end of the day on Thursday, Dec. 19, until Thursday, Jan. 2.
The suspects are still unidentified, and The Graham Leader will have more information on this story after an official police report is released.