Harvey volunteers shocked to find equipment, material stolen

Posted at 9:55 PM, Apr 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-03 22:55:42-04

The equipment volunteers were shocked Tuesday morning after noticing the equipment they have been using to help Harvey victims was stolen.

Tracy Kovach is from Arizona and using his vacation time to help Harvey victims. He says, "We checked the shed found out the shed had been broken into, the lawn mowers were gone all the power tools were gone."

Kovach is one of ten volunteers from Arizona. As the police dusted for fingerprints, the volunteers were making a plan B on how to help the people they were scheduled to see today.

"It’s put us on pause for about three hours really, there were enough tools left behind in the trucks that weren’t stolen that we were able to put our teams to work today, " said Jackie Passer.

The equipment belongs to an organization called ReachGlobal. Ten volunteers just arrived in Corpus Christi and are staying at a Bayshore Bible Church.

The thieves got away with thousands of dollars worth of saws, drills, a vehicle and just about everything they had in one of the sheds.

The coordinator is visibly upset by the loss but understands this is how victims of the hurricane feel.

The crime that happened at the church has made this team even more determined to help the people most in need.

"There’s a home in Rockport that we’re working on also today that half the house was gone and we’ve rebuilt the house to where the homeowner calls it a mansion. It’s a very small home, but it’s their home, " said Passer.

For the out-of-state volunteers. This is their first experience with a hurricane, and they were surprised to see the damage it’s left all these months later.

"In Arizona, we don’t ever see it. No one is even aware that the devastation is still out here," said Kovach.

The loss of the equipment may have made their job a little harder, but it makes it easier for them to understand the loss that local hurricane victims feel.

"My intention is just to show the love of people just to give these people hope, let them know there are still people out there that care and just give back to the community," Kovach.

Last night, just as the newcomers were settling in, from their plane trip to Corpus Christi, the power went out in the church. About three in the morning, one of the volunteers overheated since there was no air conditioning, so he went outside for fresh air. 

That’s when he ran into a person loading expensive equipment out of their locked sheds and onto the church trucks and trailers. The person told the volunteer he was loading up stuff so they’d be ready for the next day.

In the morning when other volunteers were on their way to get coffee, they noticed all of the missing equipment and called the police.

Investigators on the scene noticed that several large gasoline jugs were poured onto the grass, and a lighter was found nearby.

The communications coordinator believes the volunteer who ran into the burglar, stopped the thief in progress and may have stopped a fire near the church and vehicles.

Police did get a good description of the suspect, but church members say they have forgiveness for the person who took their equipment.

Within hours of the equipment being stolen, they had support, prayer chains, and donations from all across the country. Bringing in volunteers to help after Harvey started one day after the hurricane struck.

Since then, about 1,200 volunteers have been to the small church on Rodd Field and Holly, and more will continue to come every week.

The mission of ReachGlobal is to help Harvey victims for the long term. Church members say they have marked their equipment with green spraypaint so if anyone comes across material with green spray paint it belongs to Bay Shore Bible Church.

If you have any information on who stole the equipment or would like to donate or help to victims of Hurricane Harvey, you can call the Jackie Passer, the Communications Coordinator at 612-963-3230.