Thieves make off with $3,000 worth of tools from Danville Habitat ReStore

Thieves make off with $3,000 worth of tools from Danville Habitat ReStore

DANVILLE — Habitat for Humanity of Danville officials are asking the public's help in recovering more than $3,000 in power tools that were stolen from its new ReStore Monday night or early Tuesday morning.

Police are investigating the incident, in which thieves broke into the 35,000-square-foot building, at 422 N. Vermilion St., that will house the nonprofit organization's home improvement and donation center and made off with a gas-powered concrete saw estimated at $1,400, circular saws, cordless drills, impact guns, a cutting torch and other items that were being used to renovate the building.

Executive Director John Gibson said the theft will likely delay the opening of the facility, which was set for this fall.

"It's a huge blow to the organization," Gibson said, before adding, cheerfully, "Hopefully, some good will come out of this.

"We're still in need of financial donations to finish the renovation project. This just increases that need. But if anyone was thinking of making a donation or in a position to help, this would be a wonderful time. It would be a very a very timely gift."

Gibson added the organization is offering a reward of up to $200 for information that leads to the recovery of the stolen tools, which have "Habitat" stenciled in bright yellow and purple paint or the two distinct colors on them to indicate they belong to the organization.

Anyone with any information can call Danville police at 217-431-2250 or Crime Stoppers at 217-446-8477.

Habitat officials acquired the North Vermilion Street site, remembered by many as the old Win C. Smith car dealership and repair shop, in August 2017 and immediately got to work doing a top-to-bottom renovation. Once it's finished, the building — which is larger, more accessible to shoppers and donors and in a much more visible area — will replace the current ReStore, at 121 N. Walnut St., which only has about 7,000 square feet for the sales floor and a storage area and loading dock that are on different levels.

Gibson said ironically, subcontractor Josh Rainey, who is replacing broken ceiling joists, was doing an inventory of the tools on Monday. He closed up the facility around 5 p.m.

When Rainey returned around 8 a.m. Tuesday, he and another guy who was working with him noticed a few things were out of place.

"Almost every single power tool we owned was gone," Gibson said, pointing to an empty Dumpster-size metal toolbox and an empty 6-foot storage cabinet.

He said it appears the thieves pried open a large overhead door facing Walnut Street.

"They even used our wheelbarrows to cart the tools out of the building," he said, adding the building didn't have an alarm system or security cameras yet. He planned to put a temporary system in place immediately.

While Habitat had some of the power tools for a while and used them on home builds, Gibson said it purchased the concrete saw — the most expensive item that was taken — specifically for the ReStore renovation.

"We bought it used, but it was in like-new condition," he said.

"We're still in the process of doing a complete inventory for the insurance claim," he said.

Unfortunately, he added, the deductible is $5,000.

"What that means is this may end up being a complete loss for us," he said.

Gibson said the organization already has a GoFundMe page, called Project ReStore, to raise money for the renovation project. He planned to post information about the stolen tools in the hope of getting some donations to help replace them.

The Habitat chapter has been in the Danville area for about 32 years. During that time, its small staff, volunteers and community partners have provided decent, affordable housing to nearly 60 families.

Gibson said the organization recently closed on an existing house with plans to renovate it for a local family later this year.

The theft "is absolutely going to delay it. We're certainly not going to stop what we're doing. This is too important to stop. But it's going to make it much harder."

If anyone wants to help Habitat replace the tools, Gibson said they can drop off a donation at the current ReStore at 121 N. Walnut St., or mail it to: Habitat for Humanity of Danville, P.O. Box 901, Danville, IL, 61834.

 

 

 

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