Furnaces, water heaters stolen from Habitat For Humanity homes in Eastpointe

Thieves target homes prepared by charity

EASTPOINTE, Mich. - More and more reports of home break-ins are including thieves who target furnaces and water heaters, and lately, the victims are less fortunate.

Thieves hit three Habitat For Humanity homes that were prepared for less fortunate families in Eastpointe. Now the families will have to wait.

Police believe all three incidents were hit sometime between 4 p.m. Saturday and early Monday morning.

"They kicked in the front door," Dave Trisell, of Habitat For Humanity, said. "They took the heating unit and the electronics out of here.

Thieves painstakingly removed the furnaces and water heaters. It was the second time it had happened at a home on Collinson that was rescued from foreclosure and rehabbed for a family about to move in.

"We've been fortunate to help 143 families since 1993," Trisell said.

Trisell said he's only seen a couple of break-ins, but it seems like Habitat For Humanity homes were targeted in these instances.

"They were homes where work was going on, so they may have noticed there wasn't a family in there," Trisell said. "But the fact there were three scattered in Eastpointe, that they caught in the same night, is suspicious."

Neighbors are upset because the incidents give the area a bad name.

"I've watched over the months when the teams will come out on the weekends and their hard work to make the home habitable and I hate to see, as I say, to see it destroyed that way," Gloria Gladney said.

Habitat For Humanity has insurance, but it's a $5,000 deductible. That's the same price it paid the last time, and is by no means easy for the charity.

"We run a thin organization so we can put as much as possible into the homes for those families to build a solid foundation for them," Trisell said. "So this hurts a little bit."

Police haven't assigned the case to a detective yet. Habitat For Humanity might have to spend even more money to start fighting the string of incidents by buying security systems for the homes.

Habitat For Humanity relies on donations. You can help by visiting this site.

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