The recent theft of tools destined for post-flood rebuilding in the Schoharie Valley isn’t dampening the spirits of folks at Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery.
But it presents the need for more supplies to help hundreds of families still trying to put their lives back together.
Members of the recovery group found their storage shed was looted last week, SALT member Josh DeBartolo said. Five donated cordless drills, still new in their packaging, are gone, along with other much-needed items such as drywall tools.
People interested in helping with the recovery effort can learn more at www.salt recovery.org.
The theft complicates efforts to ensure volunteers traveling to the Schoharie Valley to help have what they need.
“It was just a hard hit because we have these skilled laborers that come in. … All we need to do is make sure that we have the tools on hand,” DeBartolo said. “That was quite a hit just with how much positive and everything there’s been, we’ve been very fortunate that this is the first issue we’ve had the entire time.”
The Rev. Mike Meyer-Veen, a SALT member whose own home and church were inundated with floodwater, said the thefts were a shock and a disappointment. He said he can only speculate that the thefts were motivated by frustration and stress.
“Seeing this happen is just a recognition that there’s a lot of people hurting,” he said.
The storage shed was locked, but DeBartolo said a set of keys turned up missing. It’s difficult to monitor who has access to the keys, he said.
“The thing is, we have hundreds of people coming through here on a daily basis. There’s so many people in and out of here, it could’ve been anybody, or the keys were dropped around the shed.”
All locks were changed after the incident, DeBartolo said.
Volunteer workers are being asked to bring in their own tools, and SALT could use donations of more tools.
The work to restore the valley to pre-flood condition will continue undeterred, DeBartolo said.
“We’ve had hundreds and thousands of people doing some amazing things in the past couple of months. I don’t want them to steal the light off of the work that’s been accomplished,” he said.
Schoharie village Police Chief Harold Orlup said the theft is under investigation.