Thieves have bothered a local organization for years, but recently they went a bit further than usual when they stole an entire collection bin.
“There would be times when people would steal the cans out it,” said program director Kathy Fitschen.
By Monday, Dec. 31, nearly half of the empty soda cans were missing. The next morning, much more was gone.
“Instead of taking the cans this time, they took the whole trailer.
Now, local educators, recyclers and law enforcement are on the look-out for the aluminum can trailer that was stolen last week from the Milaca ALC parking lot.
The trailer, which benefits the Milaca Community Education youth mentor program Give Me 5, went missing from the location it has occupied for nearly 10 years last week.
The theft was discovered when Dennis Nelson, of Dennis’ Recycling, went to pick up the trailer for its monthly collection last Tuesday around noon and found the spot the trailer has sat empty.
Although the $75 to $100 of aluminum recycled every month may not seem like a lot of money, the funds are among Give Me 5’s bread and butter and keep the program running.
“It really puts us in a bad spot,” Fitschen said. “It shows how much community support we had — it was full every month.”
The cost to replace the trailer is prohibitive — at around $2,000, program coordinators are hoping their trailer will be located. Because the trailer was a staple years before Fitschen came on board at Community Education, she said records such as registration documents and other identifying materials have been lost. The trailer did sport several signs that read “Give Me 5” and indicating proceeds from the donated cans benefit the youth program. But Fitschen fears those signs have long been removed from the stolen trailer.
“If I get a new one, I’m going to take pictures of it from every angle,” she said.
Nelson said until the trailer is located or a new one is produced, he will be happy to continue taking aluminum and forwarding the proceeds on to Fitschen and the program.
“As long as the people coming in to me designate it to Give Me 5, I’ll make sure it gets down to Kathy,” Nelson said.
Anyone with information regarding the location of the trailer is encouraged to call the Milaca Police Department at 320-983-6166.