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Vandals damage Raytown food pantry delivery van, director says

Posted: 4:17 PM, Nov 05, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-05 19:28:09-05

RAYTOWN, Mo. — Vandals allegedly damaged a van used by a Raytown nonprofit that helps people struggling to make ends meet.

The Raytown Emergency Assistance Program, or REAP, serves 500 people per month. The organization has one van to pick up and deliver food donations. On Thursday, vandals drilled holes into the van's gas tank in an attempt to steal gas, REAP Executive Director Michael Watson said. 

“Doing damage to our van, especially at this time of year, really hurts,” Watson said. 

Watson said that if the alleged vandals had needed gas that badly, REAP would have helped them.  

“It’s kind of careless because we give away gas cards, so they could’ve came to us and asked for a card for gas and we would’ve gladly helped them,” Watson said. 

The building’s surveillance system captured the suspects’ car come into the parking lot around 11:30 p.m. But the other security camera, which would have captured the suspects' faces, wasn’t working.

“In the meantime, we’re losing out on pick-ups from local stores who donate every day for our food pantry,” Watson said.

This is the second time the food pantry has been targeted. Two weeks ago, someone stole a weed trimmer during the day, Watson said.

Surveillance cameras captured that suspect’s car. Watson said the vehicle in that incident is not the same as the one seen vandalizing the van. 

REAP has filed a report with Raytown police, but so far, the vandalism suspects have not been identified. 

Volunteers are currently using their own vehicles to deliver food donations. 

REAP offers utility and rental assistance, gas cards and help during the holiday season, in addition to the food pantry.