Thieves Leave Habitat for Humanity Group Without Tools

Last Edited:
Upper Pittsgrove Township -

Members of a local nonprofit were left empty handed as tools they were using to build homes were stolen.

When Habitat for Humanity of Salem County crews arrived on their latest construction site in Pittsgrove, N.J., on Monday, July 31st, they noticed something wasn’t right.

“When I saw the lock on the ground cut, that’s when I put two and two together," said Bill Nelson, the project manager for Habitat for Humanity of Salem County. "And realized that everything was cleared out.” 

The trailer that held thousands of dollars worth of tools had been broken into and looted.

“Who would want to steal from a charity, number one?" said Nelson. "And how are we going to recover from this?"

The tools were all recently purchased with the help of generous donations collected from many charitable donors.

“The volunteers love them," said Sue Ann Leighty, executive director for Habitat of Humanity of Salem County. "It was so nice for us to have something for everybody to use instead of waiting to share tools, which is normally how we do things.” 

The Rowe family is one of the partner families that will be moving in to one of the homes being built on the Pittsgrove property.

“I was just shocked," said John Rowe. "Why would you do that to somebody who comes and volunteers to help people like us out?” 

In response to the theft, officials of the nonprofit posted pictures of the trailer and the broken lock on social media.

“It’s been shared a tremendous amount of times," said Nelson, "which was more than I ever expected.” 

Since posting about the incident on social media, many people have reached out to help the members of the nonprofit bounce back.

“The outpouring of kindness and love has really overwhelmed us," said Leight. "We’re just so tickled to know how many people really support our mission, which is [to build] affordable homes in Salem County.” 

The support has come from area residents and even the local hospital. Those wishing to donate tools or the funds to purchase them can call 856-299-0031.

“New tools, used tools, it doesn’t really matter," said Nelson. "Whatever they feel they can give to help us get back on track is always appreciated on our side.” 

No matter what, the crew says they won’t let the thieves stop them from completing these houses and the ones they plan on building in the future. 

SNJ Today is a Southern New Jersey news and information source that is dedicated to providing current stories related specifically to South Jersey.

Do you have community news or events? Email, text SNJNews to 313131, or call 856.825.NEWS (6397).