The local Easter Seals president doubts the charity will ever recover its stolen trailer, but he’s touched by the community’s response to the theft.
“A lot of people have reached out and offered their own personal trailers for use for the summer, which is great,” said Mark Lane on Wednesday. “We’ve had a couple of companies, we’ve had some individuals from C.B.S. and one from Harbour Main: ‘I have a trailer. It’s insured. It’s registered. You can use it.’”
Lane said Easter Seals uses the trailer for just about everything the organization does — including transporting wheelchairs to schools to educate students on what it’s like to need them, or moving equipment for fundraisers — and losing it means an increased reliance on volunteers.
“We use it all the time, all throughout the year,” he said. “So to take that from us now, because we don’t have a trailer, we have to rely upon volunteers and staff, maybe, to transport (equipment) in their own vehicles.”
Some equipment, though, is too large to be transported in personal vehicles, said Lane — meaning the offers coming in from people volunteering their own trailers are gratifying.
“We had a contingency plan. Now we’re back to using someone else’s trailer,” he said. “We’re still missing a $5,000 trailer.”
Lane said he’s not aware of any progress made in recovering the trailer, stolen from Easter Seals’ office on Mount Scio Road. In the meantime, he plans to ask the Easter Seals board for the money — he’s not sure of the cost yet — to install a surveillance system, which will mean an increase in fundraising need, to pay for both installation and ongoing operation.
“We have to come up with some fancy way now to pay for that as well,” he said.
The response to the theft has had at least one person come forward to report suspicious activity in the area. A resident — who asked his name not be used — said he and a friend saw a man taking pictures by the nearby Captain’s Hill golf course, of a fenced compound storing tractor equipment and golf carts.
“He was up taking pictures of the stuff behind the fence,” he said. “He had no shirt on, and he was covered from head to toe in tattoos, all over his face, and he had a camera in his hand. I was like, ‘This guy definitely looks like he’s up to something.’”
The resident said his friend took a picture and have passed on the information to Easter Seals in case it’s useful to the police.