"Scavengers" Steal From Silicon Valley Goodwill

Three times in the last week, a donation trailer on Santa Teresa Boulevard near the light rail station in San Jose was robbed of donated Goodwill items.

By Damian Trujillo and Lisa Fernandez
|  Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012  |  Updated 7:49 AM PDT
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Three times in the last week, a donation trailer on Santa Teresa Boulevard near the light rail station in San Jose was robbed of donated items, according to John Carr, loss prevention director of Goodwill of Silicon Valley. He said a donation box on Lark Avenue at Winchester Boulevard in Los Gatos was also hit.

Three times in the last week, a donation trailer on Santa Teresa Boulevard near the light rail station in San Jose was robbed of donated items, according to John Carr, loss prevention director of Goodwill of Silicon Valley. He said a donation box on Lark Avenue at Winchester Boulevard in Los Gatos was also hit.

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Photos and Videos

Raw Video: Surveillance of People Taking from Goodwill in Silicon Valley.

Three times in the last week, a donation trailer on Santa Teresa Boulevard near the light rail station in San Jose was robbed of donated items, according to John Carr, loss prevention director of Goodwill of Silicon Valley. He said a donation box on Lark Avenue at Winchester Boulevard in Los Gatos was also hit. Carr provided some surveillance video of the heists.
More Photos and Videos

It's an upsetting trend, where people rip off donated goods from Goodwill dropoff boxes throughout the nation.

And Silicon Valley is not immune.

Three times in the last week, a donation trailer on Santa Teresa Boulevard near the light rail station in San Jose was robbed of donated items, according to John Carr, loss prevention director of Goodwill of Silicon Valley. He said a donation box on Lark Avenue at Winchester Boulevard in Los Gatos was also hit.

Carr provided some surveillance video of the heists. In some of the images, a bald, heavyset man with a goatee, and a woman, can be seen making several trips to a van, loading it with a bedframe, toys, and other goods.

This type of stealing isn't new: Recent rip-offs of Goodwill boxes occur all over, from Corpus Christi, Tex., to St. Petersburg, Fla.

Like in those cities, Carr said he knows that often, these stolen goods are then resold at yard sales. Many people might not think there is a human victim when they steal used sweaters and jeans from a drop-off box. But Carr said: "It's stealing in my opinion."

Carr estimates there are "thousands of dollars" of loss each year, and that is all money that could go to Goodwill.

No one at Goodwill tracks the number of times donation boxes are burglarized, said Lauren Lawson-Zilai, a spokeswoman for Goodwill Industries International. But, she added,  "There is little doubt we are losing donations."

Every dollar stolen cuts into what could be going to help down-and-out people get meaningful jobs, which is the mission of the 165 Goodwills in the United States and Canada.

Last year, Goodwill said it helped more than 4.2 million people train for careers. Of those, 189,000 people were hired because of Goodwill's help.

If anyone knows something about these thefts, call Goodwill's Loss Prevention Unit at 408-998-5774.

See Damian Trujillo's full report at 6 p.m.

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