OGDEN — Copper thieves are being blamed for the recent loss of a freezer that contained thousands of dollars worth of food at the Salvation Army in Ogden.
The broken freezer was discovered on the morning of Aug. 14, according to Ogden Salvation Army administration assistant Sandra Taylor. The large freezer was full of meat and other foods to be distributed to people in need.
"When we came back (from the meeting) we were told that somebody had broken into the back of the cooler and tried to take off the copper tubing," Taylor said. "Whatever they did, they made the cooler fail, so I wish they could have got inside to the food because the value of the food was a lot more probably than what they got."
The freezer was a total loss, according to Taylor. She said by the time they realized the freezer had a problem the thawed food was deemed to be a hazardous waste situation. As a result, the freezer and food had to be taken to a landfill. Taylor said the area was a stinky mess for at least a week.
I wish they could have got inside to the food because the value of the food was a lot more probably than what they got.
–Sandra Taylor, Salvation Army
While property insurance will cover the cost of replacing the freezer, the organization is still hurting from the loss of the donated food. The Salvation Army estimates it lost about $18,000 worth of frozen items. The total cost of the damage is estimated to be around $50,000, including the cost of a replacement freezer and the disposal of the damaged appliance.
"(The freezer) was full, so it was very costly," Taylor said. "We just wish we could have given them food instead."
Thanks to smaller overflow freezers the organization hasn't needed to turn anyone seeking food away, but Taylor said they gave people much less than they would have been able to otherwise.
The case is being investigated by the Ogden City Police Department.
Contributing: Mike Anderson