Edmonton Society of Saint Vincent de Paul looking for stolen truck

A charity helping Edmontonians in need had one truck vandalized and another stolen on the same night this week.

The Edmonton Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP) maintains a fleet of six trucks to pick up donations and deliver items in the capital region. The charity provides furniture, household items, clothing and food to vulnerable Edmontonians.

Randy Yatscoff, Edmonton Central Council President, said the incidents are just the latest in a string of catalytic converter thefts and damaged trucks after gasoline was stolen over the last year and a half.

He says the society has had to spend $4,000 per lost catalytic converter and will now have to replace the stolen truck.

“It’s an ongoing event that people seem to focus on our trucks and it’s costing us a lot of dollars,” Yatscoff added. “We’ve lost considerable dollars in theft this past year.”

Security footage shows two individuals trying to break into one of their vehicles in St Albert on Wednesday overnight and steal the catalytic converters.

A pair of thieves try to break into a Society of Saint Vincent de Paul truck outside a St Albert church (Supplied).

“My guess is they were trying to hotwire that truck and were unable to do it,” Yatscoff said, adding the interior was vandalized.

Another truck, a 16-foot-long Isuzu with license plate CDY 0360, was stolen that same night from the Argyl neighborhood.

A picture of the stolen Society of Saint Vincent de Paul truck (Supplied).

He believes the charity is being targeted, adding: “Having two trucks stolen in one evening, I am very suspicious.”

The volunteer-driven organization has no paid employees and relies on donations and grants to operate. It does not receive ongoing funding from any level of government.

Last year, calls to the society for help totaled 6,039. In the year prior, there were 2,527 requests for support.

“There’s a great need of beds in the city,” Yatscoff said. “I don’t anyone at minus 30 sleeping on the floor and many people are still sleeping on the floor. We are trying to make a big push to use some of our funds to purchase beds. [This theft and vandalism] it takes away from that.”

Ken Gallagher, Central Society Vice-President, told CTV News Edmonton the charity is now paying out of pocket to store trucks in a secure location, since more insurance claims are making the rates unaffordable.

“It’s better than having to get insurance or having a truck down for months because we can’t get another catalytic converter,” Gallagher said.

For him, the most frustrating part is that the most vulnerable will now have one less resource to rely on.

“Every time they take from us,” Gallagher said, “it affects our ability to help other people.”

The Edmonton Police Service said it could not confirm if the latest theft or any of the other incidents are related or targeted.

“Police are investigating, and the truck has been entered into CPIC [Canadian Police Information Centre] as stolen,” said spokesperson Cheryl Voordenhout.

The society is asking anyone who sees one of their vehicles at odd hours of the day to call the police immediately.

“If they see a truck driven at four in the morning. I can tell you none of our volunteers are driving around at four in the morning,” Yatscoff said.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Marek Tkach

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