Police: taking donations from a Goodwill drop-off site is theft

Police: taking donations from a Goodwill drop-off site is theft

WEST RICHLAND, Wash. -- You might find a good steal at Goodwill, just don't steal from Goodwill.

“We should know, something that's going into a box that says ‘collection,’ that's not for free pickings,” Sergeant Terry Boehlmer said. “That would be labeled, ‘free.’”

People bag up their unwanted belongings and donate them at a Goodwill drop-off site.

“Every now and again we catch people,” Boehlmer said. “And sometimes it’s homeless people, maybe needy people, maybe just curious people--but they go up there and they take these things.”

West Richland Police said some people see the donations left outside, and decide to help themselves--stealing from a group that does a lot of good for people in need.

“The thing is, when they drop that stuff off, it's going to Goodwill,” he said. “It's technically their property at that point, and that's not for everyone to go picking through and finding free supplies for the home, or clothing for the kids.”

If you're caught taking from the drop-off location, police said it counts as theft. And if you steal something that's worth a lot of money?

“You possibly could be charged with a felony. And roughly, in short, felonies mean prison time,” Boehlmer said.

“Unfortunately, yes, we do see theft here in our communities from our stores and our donation sites more than we would like it to,” said Joey Edminster, Goodwill Community and Marketing Specialist. “But with that being said, we have a very generous community here in town that continues to support us and our mission, which is changing lives through the power of work, through their donations.”

So if you didn't know--if it's outside a Goodwill drop off—leave it be.

Police said if you're actually in need, you can always contact them, and they will introduce you to resources to help you.

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