OCN reader steps up quickly to help Habitat for Humanity Niagara recover $14,000 in stolen tools

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Thieves broke into a Habitat for Humanity Niagara construction trailer last Thursday, stealing $14,000 in tools, including all of the tools needed for Habitat’s home building projects, as well as the majority of tools to be used for skills training by students of the Niagara Peninsula Aboriginal Area Management Board (NPAAMB) Building Futures Indigenous Youth program.

However, even before Ontario Construction News (OCN) could publicize the story today, at least one reader has stepped up to help in the tool replacement process.

OCN associate publisher Chase reached out to B & G Multi Services Inc. in Hammond on Friday and received an enthusiastic response, with a note from office manager Reuben Dye, which said: “As per discussion with (B& G owner) Guy (Cruickshanks), please let us know what you will be looking for the Habitat project.” In response, Habitat Niagara provided a list of the missing tools.

Chase said he sent out on Monday a notification of the loss and outlined the campaign to replace the tools, and it is quite likely that by the time OCN readers read this story, many of the tools will be replaced. However, Habitat Niagara would certainly welcome additional support.

Habitat staff discovered the break-in when the Fonthill Restore opened last Thursday.
The thieves cut the lock and helped themselves to every tool Habitat Niagara had for its build program, resulting in a loss of $14,000 in equipment. Habitat Niagara is scheduled to start to build a home on Fourth Avenue in Niagara Falls this weekend.

“I just loaded the trailer yesterday with everything needed for our first build day this Saturday,” said Trevor Dunscombe, Habitat Niagara’s job site co-ordinator and indigenous youth instructor. “The trailer was full and ready to go for our main floor framing day. I am in shock that people would do this to a charity.”

Ironically, Dunscombe started with Habitat Niagara as a volunteer three years ago, after hearing about Habitat’s build trailer being broken into at a job site in Fort Erie. In a strange coincidence, that theft was discovered on Sept. 26, 2016. Now, three years to the day, Habitat Niagara is once again a victim of theft, despite the security measures that have been put in place after the last incident.

All of the tools are identifiable, as each is labelled with an upper case ‘BF’ spray-painted with orange paint. As well, the handheld tools have a small strip of orange paint etched into the battery with ‘HN-‘ and a sequence of numbers on the underside of the batteries.

Habitat for Humanity Niagara is asking the public to keep an eye out for anyone trying to sell these tools and to call the police if they have any information.

If you want to help in the tool replacement initiative, contact Dawn Marie Cavasin, Habitat’s manager, development and communications, at (905) 675-7395 ext 204 or email her at dawn@habitatniagara.ca.

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