Local News

February 7, 2013

Habitat building site burglarized

Dalton police are still investigating after someone reportedly stole about $3,000 worth of power tools, wiring and equipment from a Dalton-Whitfield Habitat for Humanity building site earlier this week.

Michael Zemaitis, Habitat co-building director, said he discovered on Tuesday the tools were gone and believes they were taken Monday night or Tuesday morning. He said workers are constructing their 49th home, which is on Tahoe Lane. Since so many tools were stolen after the thief or thieves used bolt cutters to slice through locks on a supply trailer and storage shed, Habitat workers are now relying on their own personal tools to get the job done.

“We’re getting ready in the spring to break ground on No. 5-0, which is a big occasion for us that we were hoping would be happier,” Zemaitis said. “But this makes us very angry and very sad. We were trying to do good for individuals, but there are people who will break in and take anything.”

The nonprofit, Christian organization selects people to receive the homes through a process that takes into account their income and availability to spend a designated number of hours helping build the house. Recipient families pay off interest-free loans. Because so many of the materials are donated and labor is provided through volunteers, the cost is greatly reduced.

Zemaitis said that while the tools were insured, Habitat must pay a $1,000 deductible before the policy kicks in. They are still missing air pressure tools, electrical tools, staple guns, 100-foot extension cords, saws, electrical cable and other items.

The thief or thieves tried to break into the house under construction, too, according to the police report, but weren’t able to get in. Officials said local pawn shops have been warned, but there is a possibility whoever stole the items could try to sell them to an individual or at a flea market.

“Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that can’t offer a reward for information in this tragedy,” Zemaitis said. “If there are any people that have information or knowledge of this heinous crime, please contact the Dalton Police Department. The crime scene evidence gave proof that the best locks and chains available will not deter criminals intent on theft.”

The police department’s phone number is (706) 278-9085.

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