Food for needy thrown out as thieves rampage through charity
LOWLIFE thieves launched a senseless rampage inside an Ipswich charity store, stealing equipment and pouring bleach on kilograms of food destined for the city's disadvantaged residents.
The thieves broke into Ipswich Foodbarn overnight on Wednesday and took computers and monitors and poured cleaning solution on food for the hungry.
Volunteers were devastated on arriving at the shed on Thursday morning to discover the damage.
A thief had crawled under the building before smashing through a wall and into the shed.
The staff kitchen was ransacked and the fridge emptied and trashed as the thief had moved into the warehouse.
They took Foodbarn's own cleaning equipment - including bleach - and poured it over shelves of food.
Every pallet and shelf of food will has to be dumped because of contamination fears.
Ipswich Foodbarn manager Qim Kauwhata said the break-in was the "worst I've ever seen".
"They've put cleaning solution through everything - that's the hardest part for our guys," she said.
The barn, which provides low-cost hampers to Ipswich residents, will be closed until further notice.
Ms Kauwhata said the future of the food service was uncertain.
Volunteers spent a hot Friday cleaning up and discarding boxes of food, believed to be worth about $7000.
Despite the trashed barn and thousands of dollars in wasted food, Ms Kauwhata said the toughest part was informing clients the shed was closed.
"It's hard to have to tell them they can't have food," she said.
"We're just trying to intercept our clients and let them know what's happening.
"Our older clients don't have Facebook so we're on site to let them know what's happening.
"It's only when we tell them what happened, they're devastated."
Ms Kauwhata is pleading with people for patience while the Foodbarn cleans and sources new products before re-opening.
Three people have been charged in relation to the offence; including a 34- and 30-year-old man who have been charged with entering premises.
A 25-year-old woman has been charged with possession of dangerous drugs, utensils and trespassing.