More than $12K stolen from Habitat for Humanity

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A major break-in at Habitat for Humanity grinds all construction to a halt. Habitat for Humanity isn't really sure when the break in happened since the offices are closed Sunday and Monday. Staff discovered the theft Tuesday morning.

Habitat had to send all the volunteers home Tuesday because thieves busted the lock at Habitat's gated warehouse and cleaned out all the construction equipment from two trucks and trailers. The warehouse is located just off 31st Street in KC's urban core, and in their 14 years at that location they have had some smaller thefts, but Habitat's Executive Director Lori Smith says never anything like this.

"We keep our trailers ready to go out and full: drills, hammers, ladders, compressors, nail guns," Smith said, "we're looking at 12 to 15 thousand dollars in tools. It's heartbreaking."

Smith says the charity doesn't have the money to replace all the tools quickly, so they've had to bring all construction to a halt and call dozens of volunteers to tell them "don't bother coming in today."

"The summer is our busiest season with volunteers, so this is when we get the majority of our work done, and having a week or two set back is a week or two for our families," says Smith.

Morgan Lee is one of those families.

"My house was supposed to be ready the second week of September," says Lee.

But now Lee and her four kids aren't sure when they will get to move in, because Habitat isn't sure when it can get crews back to work.

"I know their funds are limited, they can't come up with thousands of dollars in one day to replace tools," Lee said.

She wants the thieves to see her kids faces and realize this theft impacts people.

"You guys are hindering people from moving into their places," Lee said, "it's a sad story and you really are hurting families."

Habitat says it spent the day figuring out ways to beef up security here at the warehouse so this won't happen again. But in the meantime, if the community has tools it wants to donate they are badly needed right now. If you'd like to help, visit the Habitat for Humanity website.

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