Majority of truck fleet immobilized by thieves
Incident caught on Furniture Bank’s security cameras two weeks after hosting federal announcement
TORONTO, March 1, 2015 — A GTA charity has been left stranded by thieves who stole about $20,000 worth of catalytic converters from the majority of its fleet of trucks this past weekend.
“We have six trucks that pick up gently used donated furniture and deliver it to those who need it to start a new home and a new life – the community and our clients depend on our trucks.” says Dan Kershaw, executive director of Furniture Bank. “They’re usually very busy, but they won’t be moving anywhere until we can get them fixed — and that could take weeks.”
Furniture Bank is a charity and social enterprise that works with people who were once homeless, women and children escaping abusive situations, refugees and newcomers to Canada. It offers a unique furniture removal and pickup service from its headquarters at 25 Connell Court near Kipling Avenue and the Gardiner Expressway in Etobicoke.
“This is the third time in as many years we have been hit by such a crime,” Kershaw explains. “This will slow down our work, but it will definitely not deter our staff and volunteers from turning empty spaces into true homes.”
“This crime affects the thousands of people in the GTA who don’t have a bed to sleep on, a table to eat on or a sofa to sit down on with their families. Furniture Bank lets them choose what they need from a warehouse of donated furniture from the community,” he added. “We will unfortunately be a little late picking up donations and late to deliver items to clients this coming week.”
The crime happened two weeks to the day after Furniture Bank hosted Finance Minister Joe Oliver, Minister of State for Social Development Candice Bergen, Etobicoke-Lakeshore MP Bernard Trottie and Mayor John Tory at an event announcing $86 million in new federal funding for the City of Toronto to combat homelessness through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy.
The charity’s security camera system captured the alleged thieves at work. The images, which are available for editors to download, show a vehicle arriving at 8:03 pm Friday and parking close to a building next door to the charity.
There appears to be movement over the next half hour. At 8:27 pm, the vehicle comes into clear view, showing two suspects, one of whom appears to be loading something into the vehicle. It leaves about a minute later.
Catalytic converters convert engine pollutants into less harmful emissions before they leave a vehicle’s exhaust system. Thieves target them for their precious metals, including trace amounts of palladium, rhodium and platinum.
About Furniture Bank
Furniture Bank works with more than 75 shelters and community agencies to refer clients with a focus is on helping new immigrants, women and children, and people transitioning out of homelessness. Since 1998, the charity has empowered nearly 60,000 people, including 18,000 children and youth, in starting new chapters. In the process, we help turn an empty space into a true home.
Dan Kershaw, Furniture Bank’s Executive Director
Editors: Please note Dan Kershaw is available for interviews at the charity’s Etobicoke location Sunday and Monday. Please call or email to book an appointment.