Tool theft at Habitat for Humanity site slowed, but won’t stop work

troot@thesunnews.comDecember 24, 2013 

  • Can you help?

    • Horry County police are investigating both crimes and anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call investigators at 915-TIPS.

    • To help Habitat officials replace the stolen tools, send a check to or stop by Habitat’s office at 165 Co-op Rd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29588, or call Gail Olive at 650-8815 Ext. 8001.

Two burglaries this year at a Habitat for Humanity home build site slowed their work, but won’t stop them, said Gail Olive, the agency’s executive director.

Power tools worth more than $2,000 were stolen when a trailer was burglarized earlier this month at Hopes Crossing, a new build site off S.C. 905, according to officials.

In October, more than 100 sheets of OSB board, valued at about $1,000 were stolen from the same site, Olive said.

“This is a disappointment,” Olive said Tuesday. “It’s always a disappointment to me personally and a problem for the agency to lose anything from a site. I don’t know if it’s the time of year or economy is impacting things. People say ‘how can they steal from a charity,’ but I don’t think people understand it is a charity. The community is being injured and hurt, not just the family and Habitat. I think people are desperate. I think it’s a crime of opportunity.”

In the most recent incident, Tiffany Doolittle, fund development director for the agency, said in an email that the tool trailer was left at the site where a 23-house subdivision is planned, when someone cut through the locking bar of the trailer and took the 11 power tools.

The insurance deductible is too high and will not cover the costs for tool replacement, so officials are asking for monetary donations, gift cards to Lowe’s or gently used replacement tools, Doolittle said.

The following is a list of the tools taken: a Makita 10” dual slide compound miter saw with laser; Dewalt 18-volt hammer drill/reciprocating saw combination kit; Dewalt 18-volt cordless combination kit with a drill, sawzall, and battery charger; Milwaukee 12-amp sawzall reciprocating saw with case; Porter cable, corded reciprocating sawzall with case; Bosch multi-x-12 volt cordless oscillating tool; Dewalt 15-amp, 7 ¼” lightweight circular saw with electric brake; Porter Cable 120-volt 7 ¼” corded circular saw; Dewalt 15-amp 7 ¼” lightweight circular saw with case; Ridgid Fuego 3-amp compact jigsaw; and a Bosch corded hammer drill, 1”, 7.5 amp keyless.

The trailer is being hauled to and from the site since the latest burglary, but Olive said she’s hopeful completion of the home and residents living in the neighborhood will serve as a deterrent for future crimes.

“It’s not really isolated, but it’s not a high risk community either,” Olive said.

Members of First Presbyterian Church in Myrtle Beach and Surfside Rotary Club are sponsors in the build and the budget for the home climbs when items like tools and supplies are stolen, Olive said.

“When we have to replace things it impacts the budget of the house. We’re going to continue to do what we can. We’ve borrowed tools and continue to work,” Olive said. “We were able to get back up and running, every work day is different. Some days we use certain tools and other days we use others.”

Now, Olive said organizers, the family and others with Habitat are waiting for the community to help solve the crime and help replace some of the stolen items. One volunteer, who works at job sites, sent a gift card for Lowes, she said.

“We’re willing to take gift cards, Lowes Home Depot, cash, donation of tools. We would like to thank the community for their continued support and if anyone can help out that would be great too,” Olive said.

As for the family, Olive said they are continuing to work toward their new home.

“I think they’re very optimistic,” Olive said. “They’re still pretty upbeat that they’re going to get a home eventually. It may slow it a bit, but it doesn’t mean they’re not going to get a home.”

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.

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