Scrap metal stolen from St. Helen's Senior Center recycling prog - KPTV - FOX 12

Scrap metal stolen from St. Helen's Senior Center recycling program

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St. Helens police are looking for two men who stole scrap metal Wednesday evening from a senior center that recycles the metal to fund its Meals on Wheels program.

The St. Helens Senior Center said a valuable lawn mower deck was sitting in its parking lot when two suspects pulled into the lot in a gray Dodge Durango shortly before 5 p.m.

“It makes me mad -- they’re just so nonchalantly picking it up and making sure it’s all safely secured to their vehicle,” said center manager Cheryl Young, as she watched video surveillance of the theft. “It’s very frustrating because we work hard to try to get money to provide the meals here.”

It’s a good thing the center has security cameras: according to Young, it’s the eighth theft from the property in less than a year. 

Young’s grandson, Zach Young, works at the center as the assistant cook. He said the thefts are hard on employees, and worse for the seniors they serve. 

“They’re really surprised people keep targeting the senior center of all places,” Young said. "This started from our coffee getting stolen, to our metal, to our donations — they’re baffled at this point.”

Young said the mower deck is partially made out of copper, meaning it is worth more than most of the junk the center collects to turn in. He figures the 300 lb. piece is worth about $100 — that alone is equivalent to what the center usually after an entire month of metal collection. 

Typically, the metals are not left in the parking lot, but instead in a trailer stored on the property. But Young said he had to leave the mower deck outside because the trailer was being used by another employee to pick up more metal.

The money made on the metal is used to purchase meals delivered by volunteers to about 100 homebound seniors in the area. 

“Sometimes that’s the only contact they have in a day,” Cheryl Young said "It’s a good program and the meals that we send out help keep them going so they can live in their home.”

It’s disappointing for the organization that will have to find other ways to make dollars stretch. 

“If they really knew what all that metal went for, would they still take it?” Zach Young wondered. "Like, this could be feeding some of their parents for all they know.”

If you know who stole the metal, please call St. Helens Police at 503-397-3333. 

If you would like to donate scrap metal to the St. Helens Senior Center you can learn more by calling 503-397-3377. 

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