A post-Thanksgiving burglary at Destin’s food pantry is only the latest in a string of thefts at Harvest House.
The suspect in the most recent case was captured on video stealing from the food pantry and driving away in a light-colored or silver full-sized SUV.
The alleged burglary, theft, and property damage crime happened late at night Nov. 26 at Harvest House in the 300 block of Mountain Drive, according to an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office report.
Stolen from the walk-in freezer were 12 to 15 frozen chickens worth an estimated $50, although the vast majority of food had already been distributed during Thanksgiving week. Damaged during the approximately 41-minute-long crime were a fence gate and the lock to the freezer. Along with stealing the chickens, the suspect was recorded taking light bulbs and unidentified items from several boxes in the donation area.
The alleged burglar and thief is described as stocky in build and at the time of the crime wore an oversized sweat suit.
Harvest House, which did not return multiple calls from The Log, has reported several thefts this year. Along with the most recent incident, deputies responded to calls in late June, late July, and early October. There also have been two suspicious persons and an audible alarm response.
Setting aside for a moment the fact that the suspect victimized a charity serving local people in need, Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Michele Nicholson stressed a simple fact.
“The main thing is that they’re still stealing,” she said.
Nicholson said that at this point it can’t be ruled out that the same person who burglarized Harvest House in late November also was responsible for at least one of the other crimes committed at the food pantry in the past few months.
Nicholson encouraged anyone who sees suspicious activity around Harvest House to call the Sheriff’s Office immediately at 651-7400. It also has stepped up patrols in the area of the food pantry.
Another option is visiting the Sheriff’s Office website at www.sheriff-okaloosa.org, clicking the Public Resources tab, and opening “Take a Look, Catch a Crook.” It’s a page of photographs of suspects and, in a few instances, vehicles, associated with alleged crimes.
Finally, anyone with information about the Harvest House burglary, or other crimes, can contact Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers at 863-8477 to leave an anonymous tip.