Vandals Hit Salvation Army HVAC Units, Causing $5200 in Damage
Vandals struck the Sedalia Salvation Army, 1200 East Broadway, sometime over the weekend.
According to a Sedalia Police report on Monday morning, someone damaged three air conditioning units and drained the Freon out of them. The estimated value to fix the air conditioners was set at $5,200.
Magen Hudson, director of the Salvation Army Service Center, said on Thursday morning that two of the units are not operational at all, and one that they were able to get refilled with Freon.
“Our gymnasium unit, where we do all our distribution of food and resources (on Tuesdays and Thursdays) so we at least got that refilled, which was almost $1,000 just to get that one unit refilled (with Freon),” Hudson told KSIS.
“So we are down two AC units right now, we are getting comparative bids from places, trying to secure the funding, but it's going to be altogether, a little over $5,000 to refill all three units and get them to working again,” she said.
“There's no such thing as extra money here, it all goes towards the community to help those in need, so the more we have to put towards fixing stuff that's broken, or unnecessary vandalism, it's less that we're able to help the community, so it really hurts us,” Hudson lamented.
“We don't have $5,000 ready to just give to the HVAC guy. We have to secure different bids, we talked to our headquarters and our board to seek advice from them on who should we go to, what's the best deal, what kind of money do we have. Then we'll also talk to some donors and longtime supporters to see if they can help us out with that, see if insurance will pick up anything, we're trying every avenue we can,” Hudson said.
The Sedalia Salvation Army has definitely seen its share of vandalism in the past.
“We've had the catalytic converters stolen from three vehicles, our sign out front has been damaged, our shed's been broken into, multiple things,” Hudson recalled. “They've taken copper from our HVAC units before, so we're in need of a security system, some upgrades, and precautions.”
A security system is something that Salvation Army is working on, but it is admittedly an expensive project. More security lighting at night would be helpful as well.
“There are some exterior lights that are out on the building, and that's something we need help with as well, someone who can help get those fixed, someone who can get up there with a skyjack. We don't have a maintenance guy, it kind of all falls on my shoulders,” Hudson said.
“There's several ways we can maybe deter (the criminal activity), but we need the community's help, that's for sure.”