The manager at Parksville’s Salvation Army Thrift Store is tired of cleaning up the mess left behind by people going through donated items after hours.
Dave Burns says he’s frustrated with having to deal with the routine mess, even during his days off.
“I’m at wit’s end on the damage and the mess that I have to come to work and clean up every morning,” said Burns.
The store, located at 192 Island Highway West in Parksville, has a community dropoff location. Burns said donations dropped off after the store is closed are the ones people are targeting.
“They’re what I call ‘night crawlers,’” said Burns. “They’ll go through them and tear them all apart and take what they want. Or they will go through the dumpster for all the stuff that we’ve discarded because we can’t sell them. They will pull them all apart.”
Burns said he sent Parksville council photos of the daily mess and also reported the situation to the Oceanside RCMP.
There is a chain-link fence where the dumpsters are locked in but Burns said someone cut a huge hole in it and it has not yet been repaired.
“We used to lock our garbage bins but now they have bolt-cutters,” said Burns. “They just go ahead a cut the lock. They cut the locks on the gates that we used to have.”
On a nightly basis, Burns said there are almost a dozen people who hang around the area, camp and do drugs.
“I can understand they’re homeless, but don’t make the mess,” said Burns. “They’re there as soon as we close and leave the lot at five o’clock. We’ve had them light our dumpsters up… They don’t care. No caring, there’s no respect for the Salvation Army.”
Burns suggests residents make their donations during regular store hours.
“We’re open six days a week from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,” said Burns. “That should be ample time for people bring in their donations. Don’t bring it on a Sunday because we’re not open at all.”
Burns wants city council to order the building completely secured to discourage people from trespassing and going through the donated items.