CLEARWATER – Thieves stole more than $550 worth of gardening and lawn equipment from the Homeless Emergency Project on Sept. 26, according to an HEP press release.
“Thieves severed the metal lock and broke into a storage building at HEP’s community garden located on Engman Avenue in Clearwater,” the press release said. “Items missing include a weed whacker and a battery-operated backpack garden sprayer; attempts were made to steal a wheelbarrow but were unsuccessful because of a surrounding fence.”
The community garden occupies about 3,000 square feet on the north end of the campus. It provides HEP residents a chance to enjoy the fresh air while participating in a therapeutic activity and it gives a gathering place for individual and family residents.
“It is disheartening that people are so callous that they are willing to steal from a charity like HEP,” said Jack Ziecheck, supervisor of facilities at HEP. “The items were given to HEP from generous donors in the community who wanted to help our residents grow a garden. The theft will set the program back, especially as we head into planting season.”