Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pastor saddened by burglary at Hudson charity's warehouse

The Rev. Jim Campbell’s organization, the Rope Center, keeps 30,000 blankets, thousands of ready-to-eat meals and other provisions for the needy at this warehouse in Hudson, which was burglarized and vandalized recently.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

The Rev. Jim Campbell’s organization, the Rope Center, keeps 30,000 blankets, thousands of ready-to-eat meals and other provisions for the needy at this warehouse in Hudson, which was burglarized and vandalized recently.

HUDSON — The Rev. Jim Campbell unlocked the warehouse door that's been boarded up with plywood for years. On the wood, spray paint spelled out a plea to conspiring vandals: "Nothing left."

The doors have been that way since before Campbell's organization, the Rope Center, which gives food and living assistance to the homeless, bought the warehouse. The words aren't true: the building holds 30,000 blankets, thousands of ready-to-eat meals and other provisions for the needy. Now it serves as a reminder of how even a charity can fall victim to greed.

On Aug. 4, deputies say, Caleb Overbey and Allison Pfiffer, both 18, slipped through a hole they made in the siding and took up residence inside. They ripped open several pallets, $480 worth, of ready-to-eat meals donated to feed the homeless and scattered them across the floor.

They found military cots being stored by Pasco County Stand Down, an organization that helps homeless veterans, and slept on them, making them unusable, according to a Pasco Sheriff's report.

Deputies found a forklift in the warehouse with its ignition destroyed. The teens apparently hot-wired the machine and drove it around, crashing into walls and ruining a door they tried to pry open with the fork. They opened boxes of donated blankets and tried to burn them.

Another man, Kevin McKenzie, 20, stole some CamelBak water bladders from the military supplies and pawned them at a nearby shop, the report states.

Warehouse manager Daniel Shields found the damage on Friday and called authorities. Campbell came to survey the place. "It was flung from one end of this place to the other," he said Monday on another visit to the warehouse.

Among the debris, deputies found a prescription pill bottle with Overbey's name on it and a high school diploma and bus pass with Pfiffer's name. The deputies called over to the Rope Center, a few miles away at 14121 Water Tower Drive, where Overbey and Pfiffer happened to be that afternoon, getting assistance from Campbell's charity.

Overbey and Pfiffer were both charged with burglary. They remained at the Land O'Lakes jail Monday in lieu of $5,000 bail each. McKenzie was charged with providing false proof of ownership to a pawn shop. His bail was set at $10,000.

Campbell wiped away tears as he talked about the burglary. He said the Rope Center would have given them better accommodations than what, deputies say, they found when they broke into the warehouse. He tries to make sense of why someone would do that, but he can't.

"You try to do everything for people, and it just seems like a one-way street," he said. "I'm all right with it, I guess."

Contact Alex Orlando at (727) 869-6247 or aorlando@tampabay.com.

Pastor saddened by burglary at Hudson charity's warehouse 08/25/14 [Last modified: Monday, August 25, 2014 10:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Protectors of Confederate statue readied for a battle that never materialized

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — Big Dixie flags were waving. County employees had erected a barrier around the Confederate soldier statue at Main and Broad streets. Roads and parking areas were blocked off. Uniformed local officers and federal law enforcement patrolled.

    Police tape and barricades surround the Confederate statue in Brooksville.
  2. Manhattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  3. FSU-Bama 'almost feels like a national championship game Week 1'

    Blogs

    The buzz is continuing to build for next Saturday's blockbuster showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State.

  4. Plan a fall vacation at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens when crowds are light

    Florida

    Now that the busy summer vacation season is ending, Floridians can come out to play.

    Maria Reyna, 8, of Corpus Cristi, TX. eats chicken at the Lotus Blossom Cafe at the Chinese pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017.  Epcot is celebrating it's 35th year as the upcoming Food and Wine Festival kicks off once again.
  5. USF spends $1.5 million to address growing demand for student counseling

    College

    TAMPA — As Florida's universities stare down a mental health epidemic, the University of South Florida has crafted a plan it hopes will reach all students, from the one in crisis to the one who doesn't know he could use some help.

    A student crosses the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, where visits to the school's crisis center more than doubled last year, part of a spike in demand that has affected colleges across the country. The university is addressing the issue this year with $1.5 million for more "wellness coaches," counselors, online programs and staff training. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]