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Recycling thieves in Fredericton clean out Scouts Canada donation bin

N.B. scout groups left in a lurch after donation bins pilfered
WATCH: Recycling thieves have been raiding donation bins meant to benefit scout groups in Fredericton. As Megan Yamoah report, the decrease in donations is limiting the excursions the scout groups can host and increasing the costs for low income families.

Pilfering of a Scouts Canada donation bin in Fredericton is limiting the opportunities children are able to take and increasing the costs for low-income families, the organization says.

Scouting is meant to offer children an opportunity to explore the great outdoors, and in Fredericton, that means events like a hiking trip to Mount Carleton.

“There’s a lot of rocks up there and there was a lighthouse up top, and I thought that was really cool,” said Ethan Geneau, a member of the 1st Nashwaaksis Scouting Group.

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The costs for registration, uniforms and trips means scouting isn’t accessible to everyone.

To help fund the program for families who can’t afford it, a bottle box for glass and can donations has been placed in the parking lot of St. John the Evangelist Church in Fredericton.

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1st Nashwaaksis Scout
Scouts Canada 1st Nashwaaksis Scout Group badges. Megan Yamoah / Global News

 

Kerri Daamen, a leader for the 1st Nashwaaksis Scouting Group, said that for the past few years they have dealt with people stealing from the bin.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the thefts, Daamen said, adding as donations have increased, so has the number of thefts.

“It’s disappointing because there’s clear signage on the box what the redemption is for,” said Ross Geneau, Ethan’s father and another leader for the 1st Nashwaaksis Scouting Group.

1st Nashwaaksis Scout2
1st Nashwaaksis Scouts learning about climbing knots. Megan Yamoah / Global News

“We’re averaging probably $100 a month now where it would have been over $500 a month before,” said Daamen.

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“It’s not just our bottle box, it’s all around town.”

The group has reviewed surveillance videos and realized there were repeat offenders.

One incident saw a group show up in a U-Haul truck and quickly emptying the donation been in only a few minutes.

“First and foremost, how about you stop? If you’re in that much of a financial situation, there are other programs that you can reach out to,” said Ross Geneau.

The mounting problem of overflowing donation bins
The mounting problem of overflowing donation bins

The scout leaders would like the community to keep an eye out and report any suspicious activity in the church parking lot.

“They are cleaning out the money! That’s not going for the kids so we really want to focus on getting the money back to kids where it can be used,” said Daamen.

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The organization has filed three police reports and provided them with video surveillance.

The Fredericton Force has an active investigation on file.