Officers search for man who stole truck with donations for homeless inside

Officers search for man who stole truck with donations for homeless inside

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia police are searching for who is responsible for stealing a truck filled with furniture donations for the homeless.

This has been a huge setback for the non-profit, St. Lawrence Place, which provides transitional housing to the homeless to help them regain their independence.

On Monday, Billy Chestnut, the facility manager, was at a home on the St. Lawrence Place property unloading donated furniture when his truck was stolen before he could finish unloading it. Surveillance video provided by the non-profit first shows a man driving onto the property on a moped, only to leave a few minutes later in the stolen truck.

"Well, it was unbelievable at first and then I realized somebody has actually removed my truck," Chestnut said.

It was his personal truck that he uses for work to load and unload donated furniture for the homeless.

"I need to pick up donations, and because I don't have my truck that's going to inconvenience us," he said.

That's not Billy's only problem. The stolen truck contained the keys to Billy's other vehicle and his home address.

"Well, I've been trying to remain calm. I'm just concerned about my family, that's all. They're a little emotional right now," Chestnut explained.

"The families, they adore Mr. Chestnut and right now this not only affected him but it also affected the individuals that live at St. Lawrence Place," Tyra Jefferson, Vice President of programs for Homeless No More, the parent company of St. Lawrence Place said.

Jefferson, who has been working with St. Lawrence Place for more than a decade, said this is a first.

"No one's ever took furniture that was donated for families who are homeless. So, that's very disheartening," Jefferson said.

Chestnut has these words of advice, "Just be careful of your surroundings and if you notice anything suspicious you need to act on it."

Just one day after his first truck was stolen, Chestnut said another one of his trucks was stolen - this time from his house. He said he heard the vehicle start-up but by the time he ran out, they were gone. That vehicle has since been found and returned. Authorities have not been able to confirm if the two crimes are connected.

Police are still looking for the black pickup truck that was taken from the St. Lawrence Place parking lot, and the man responsible for that crime.

Anyone with any information about this incident is urged by officers to contact Crimestoppers in any of the following ways:

PHONE: Call 1-888-CRIME SC (888-274-6372)

TEXT: TIPSC plus your tip info to CRIMES (274637)

ONLINE: and email a tip.

Your identity will be kept anonymous, and if your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

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