POSTED: Sunday, August 5, 2012 - 1:00pm
UPDATED: Sunday, August 5, 2012 - 1:04pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — One man's trash is another man's treasure, and thieves are finding their own version of gold at the expense of a Salvation Army store in Oxford, Mississippi.
"It's hurting us all. We can't win from this situation and people need to be aware of this problem we have," says Salvation Army Family Store Director Lisa Coleman.
One after another people are caught helping themselves to donations others have left outside the building.
"Sunday afternoon they pull up. You can tell they have been to church. They pull up in their nice vehicles with family and they're out loading our donations into their car and leaving," Coleman says.
That's a scenario which shocks customer Mary Martin.
"It's awful. If they would come in they would give it to them. You know, don't steal," Martin says.
Caught on camera is a lady well known to many in Oxford. On another occasion a man loads up a lawn mower and a refrigerator in record time. One guy comes to drop off a bag, but decides to take something with him. Minutes later he brings it back, seeming to realize cameras are rolling. He appears to say he's sorry.
"I would like for these people to be embarrassed at what they have done and I would like for it to quit. When these donations are left here on Salvation Army grounds, they become property of the Salvation Army. People leave these donations with good intentions that they are coming into our store to help someone," Coleman adds.
"They've torn open bags. They've tried on clothes outside and the employees spend the majority of their day cleaning up the parking lot," says Salvation Army Field Representative Suzzette McMillen.
Law enforcement say those caught could face charges that could result in a sizable fine and jail time. McMillen says plans are in the works to install cameras inside and out at most Salvation Army Family Stores.
Always drop off your donations during business hours to make sure they are not taken.