Vandals strike Salvation Army

Published 9:23 pm Friday, December 25, 2009

Within a one-mile radius of the Salvation Army’s Suffolk headquarters live 40 percent of Suffolk’s most poverty-stricken residents. The Salvation Army is conveniently placed there to provide needed services to those who need them most, but it comes at a cost.

Vandals have broken six of the Salvation Army’s windows on their Bank Street location. Each window costs at least $183 to replace.

“Every time we replace one of these windows that means someone won’t get their light bill paid, their hot meal or their rent paid,” Major Cal Clatterbuck of the Salvation Army said.

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The first recent incident occurred Nov. 14. A window was broken out, and vandals entered the building but did not take anything. Since then, five more windows have been broken out. One window was hit so hard it sent glass to the back of a classroom.

The latest incident occurred Dec. 22, and on Dec. 20 alarms in the building were set off, but no damage was sustained.

“Every time something like this happens, I have to drive a half hour. Saturday night I stayed here all night,” Clatterbuck said. “It’s our busiest time of year, and this is just wearing me out.”

If the vandalism doesn’t stop, Clatterbuck said, the Salvation Army might have to purchase security cameras and could look into hiring a security officer — which would mean still more money not going to those who need it the most.

Clatterbuck said he hopes the surrounding community will help stop the vandals who are hurting the organization — and hurting those they’re trying to help.

Suffolk spokeswoman Debbie George said there are no suspects in the vandalisms.

Anyone with information about the vandalisms should contact Crime Line at 1-888-Lock-U-Up. Crime Line callers do not have to give their names or appear in court. If a caller’s information leads to an arrest, the caller can qualify for a reward of up to $1,000.