Nonprofit veterans organization's trailer stolen
The trailer used by a nonprofit organization to collect and distribute donated items and food to homeless veterans on Long Island was stolen over the weekend, and the group was left at a standstill as a result, police and volunteers said.
The trailer was taken from the parking lot of the Veteran Activity Center in Ronkonkoma.
The center is run by the nonprofit Boots on the Ground NY to provide services to veterans.
Frank Bania, president of Boots on the Ground NY, said the trailer was parked at 6 p.m. Saturday and when he returned at 8 a.m. Sunday, it was missing.
"I'm pretty shocked it was stolen. I'm guessing it was someone who had no idea what it was used for," Bania said.
The trailer's exact contents are unknown, but Bania said it probably held donated furniture.
"They [the items inside] didn't have any real value, but for someone who has nothing, it's everything," Bania said.
Most of the donated items, such as food and several mattresses, which were supposed to be sent out Sunday, were still inside the Veteran Activity Center. The trailer cost about $10,000, Bania said, and was paid for with money donated by Long Island American Bikers Aimed Toward Education and Christian Haerter, the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter of Sag Harbor, who was killed in action in 2008.
"[The trailer is] a staple for us," said Doug Tature, a Marine veteran and volunteer. "It's very sad.""Most of the donations are delivered and picked up on Saturday and Sunday, so without it [the trailer], we couldn't do anything today," Bania said.
According to the Boots on the Ground NY Facebook page, the unit is a Car-Mate 2007 Black enclosed trailer that's about 20 feet long and about 7 feet tall. It has a Diamond plate border around the entire trailer and the back drop-down door is lettered with the Boots on the Ground NY logo.