Snohomish County food bank struck by thieves takes ‘significant hit’

Dec 16, 2023, 6:05 PM

(KIRO 7)...

(KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — A Snohomish County food bank is now scrambling to stock shelves for the holidays after someone came in and cleared them out. It happened around 7:45 a.m. Friday at the Arlington Food Bank. The burglar took food just hours after it was delivered, and broke a freezer in the process.

The food bank’s Executive Director, Carla Rankin said this is a huge blow.

“We had brand new, for the holiday specific I had ordered milk, eggs, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and hams for Christmas,” said Rankin. “First I was shocked but when I was looking at them a couple of times, he’s so casual.”

Rankin said their cameras caught some of the burglary. She can’t believe how nonchalant the man in that footage is, as he loads up a pick-up truck with food meant for struggling family’s tables for the holidays. It’s a number that’s doubled so far this year.

“Last year for Thanksgiving for instance we served 494 households, so family units. This Thanksgiving that just passed we served 889 households. That is a real fresh number of the growth we’re experiencing,” said Rankin. “The increase is incredible and as much as the demand has increased the donations have decreased because the people who previously would donate, they’re either in line now or they’re keeping what they would donate for their own pantry.”

Arlington Police said the truck he was loading was stolen too. Arlington officers, along with help from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and Stillaguamish police, arrested the man Friday afternoon. Now Arlington Food Bank is left dealing with the fallout.

“He took several cases of hams, the Kirkland, the big hams I think there’s four or five in each box. He took six or eight cases of eggs, there’s 15 dozen eggs in a pack and he took several crates of milk which there’s four gallons in each. For us it was a significant hit,” Rankin said.

Some of that damage, they’ll be dealing with after the holiday rush.

“This mechanism was ruined and them this is completely severed and off. The other one is a brand new cooler so there is a panel here that does temperature control and lighting so damaging the handle damaged this whole area. It’s cracked up here so the seal broke,” she said. “We are guessing a sledgehammer or a heavy crescent wrench. The handle is heavy, heavy chrome.”

Rankin said while non-perishable food donations are always welcome, between losing all that perishable food and the broken freezer, they’re behind the 8-ball. What they need right now is funds.

“That’s going to help us repair the cooler, it’s going to help us order more protein, replace the eggs, replace the milk,” she said. “Ninety-four percent of all our donations go directly to program services.”

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Arlington police are also investigating if the man seen in the Arlington Food Bank footage, loading up the stolen truck, is also responsible for a few other burglaries earlier on Friday.

Rankin said they’re also planning to put in a security fence to prevent anyone from breaking in again.

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