Trailer used to help homeless vets found in North Bellport

The trailer used by a nonprofit organization to 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. Photo Credit: Facebook

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A $10,000 trailer stolen from a nonprofit that uses it to deliver furniture to veterans was found early yesterday on a dead-end street in North Bellport, officials said.

The Boots on the Ground NY trailer was discovered just before 4 a.m., a day after it was reported missing from the parking lot of the Veteran Activity Center in Ronkonkoma, Suffolk police said.

"Thank God it's here," said nonprofit President Frank Bania, who towed the trailer back home last night. "Without the trailer, we can't take care of our veterans."

Authorities have not provided details of the discovery, but Bania said the trailer was abandoned near Sunrise Highway.

The vehicle identification number had been rubbed out, and a small lock was missing, but boxes of cleaning supplies were still there, Bania said. No major items were inside when it was stolen, he said, but the group is trying to determine what, if anything, was taken.

The trailer was at the veterans center 6 p.m. Saturday after a day of picking up donated furniture, and it was gone by 8 a.m. Sunday, Bania said.

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That was the day the group was to bring mattresses and furniture to a veteran's family and a veteran living alone, he said.

Instead, he and other volunteers drove hours in search of the trailer, going to numerous parking lots.

Banis is grateful so many people looked out for the trailer, even last night, when he was towing it to the veterans center.

"As I was driving near my house, on my own street, I was cut off and an old man asked 'What are you doing with that trailer?' " Bania said.

He pointed to his shirt -- it said Boots on the Ground.

With Priscila Korb

and John Valenti

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