- Associated Press - Thursday, December 25, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - An Anchorage nonprofit that helps people with disabilities has been contending with thefts and vandalism during the Christmas season.

The ARC of Anchorage said its donation bins have been raided and delivery truck fuel tanks have been drained. It’s been happening at least twice a week, most recently on Christmas Eve.

Thefts and damage have run into the thousands of dollars, KTVA-TV (http://ow.ly/GqwKY ) reported.

It appeared bolt cutters were used to gain access to a fenced area. Equipment was also stolen.

Anchorage police are investigating, said Ian Casey, the organization’s operations manager. The organization has nightly security patrols.

“They’re taking away directly from the programs from the ARC of Anchorage,” he said. “They’re taking away from people who experience developmental disabilities.”

Anne Burch, who has received job training from the ARC and now works the phones asking for donations, called the thefts selfish. She said it deprives families who can’t afford to buy new things, such as clothes and household items. The donated items usually end up in a thrift store.

The organization is asking people to put items in the donation bins during business hours, when they’re checked regularly.

“It’s frustrating,” Casey said, holding a busted lock in front of a bin that was broken into Wednesday morning. The lock had just been replaced. “The people who put their donations in the donation box last night, they thought they were going to be helping the ARC of Anchorage and instead it got stolen.”

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Information from: KTVA-TV, http://www.ktva.com

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