Thieves hit food bank for third time

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Copper crooks have crossed the line. Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank administrators say just when they thought the thieves had wiped them of everything, they found something spare to snatch from non-profit's pantry.

Twisted twine, split sections and broken breaker boxes now run through the rooms of the ravaged Baton Rouge Food Bank. The resourceful new warehouse has yet to be renovated. But that has not stopped copper crooks from creeping into even the smallest crevice of the company's building.

The first hit, in November, made a dent estimated between $100,000 and $200,000. In February, the suspects struck, again. They seized costly coil from the air conditioning units. Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank President Mike Manning says the thieves were not done.

"After we moved the AC materials inside to protect it from being stolen, we came back and a couple of dates later to find the rest of the unit they removed the copper coils from had been taken," Mike Manning said.

Manning says the food bank has relocated its outdoor units to a safe place and has restored its security system to monitor possible prowlers. The non-profit is holding off on replacing the copper until the staff is ready to remodel. Meantime, manning says they are researching and redesigning security on site.

"We think these are completely different sets of people from the copper wire theft and its targets of opportunity here. They're doing it all over town."

While it is a statement that has become standard among victims of copper crooks, the fact that someone would steal from a source striving to make a difference is something Manning finds hard to stomach.

"How do you steal from another person, especially from a food bank. We're trying to take care of the poorest of the poor."

So far there have been no arrests or named suspects in the food bank burglaries.

Manning says the new location is still scheduled to open by the end of this year.

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