Tulare County food bank repeatedly burglarized, staff asks community to be on the lookout

News

Tulare County’s only food bank has been repeatedly burglarized. 

FoodLink’s executive director, Nicole Celaya, said the crimes are affecting their ability to get food to people in need.

She said the nonprofit moved to Exeter in 2016, and since then they’ve been broken into over and over again, she said in May alone they were hit three times. 

She was reviewing surveillance video Monday, hoping to catch whoever is behind the string of break-ins.

“They’re cutting out fuel lines or stealing the fuel from our fuel tanks. They broke the window to one of our trucks and stole the electronic components, they’ve stolen gardening supplies, an entire greenhouse,” Celaya said. 

FoodLink is the only food bank in Tulare County, and serves nearly 15,000 people a month.

“We distribute emergency food resources throughout the county to about 35 different pantries,” Celaya said. 

She said cameras have caught several people on the property over the years, including a couple, and most recently a man last Wednesday.

She said no one has gotten inside the building, but the damage is still affecting FoodLink’s ability to serve the community.

“Monthly our calendar is packed all the time. We’re always delivering something and so when we get here and our trucks don’t have fuel or they’ve been broken into, it throws our entire schedule off,” Celaya said. 

She said they’re installing new higher fences next week. Anyone with information is asked to give Exeter police a call (559) 592-3103.

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