Thief steals camping supplies from local Boy Scout troop right before their big trip

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A thief targeted a local boy scout troop and a church. Everything Boy Scouts with Troop 494 need to go on a camping trip is stored in a red trailer.  The trailer is parked behind Chapel Hill United Methodist.  As Boy Scouts were preparing for a trip, they checked on supplies in their trailer and realized someone had already been there.

“The lock was cut off, and they said, ‘Where’s our tents? Where’s our stuff?’” said Tom Olivier, Troop 494 leader.

Nine tents, propane tanks, food and other equipment were all missing. Instead of staying overnight on the camping trip, Boy Scouts just made it a day trip.

“I think the boys were more hurt. They said, 'Who would do this to Boy Scouts?'” said Olivier.

Within days of the Boy Scouts discovering the break-in, the church found out they’d been hit too.

“It doesn’t make me happy, doesn’t make anybody here happy,” said Dave Buckner, pastor at Chapel Hill United Methodist.

The church’s old Chevy 14-passenger bus is parked in a locked gate.  A couple Sundays ago, like every Sunday, the bus headed out to pick up some elderly members.

“To whoever did this, think about your mom or your grandma who loves to go to church but can’t get out because they can’t get around, that’s principally who this bus was used for,” said Buckner.

The bus didn’t make it out of the parking lot.  Someone damaged the gas tank and stole the catalytic converter.

“I have to think that people who would do this are down on their luck,” said Pastor Buckner.

The repair bill for the church bus is more than $5,000, and the missing camping equipment is worth nearly $2,000. Both the trailer and the bus were clearly marked.

Buckner wants the thief to realize there are consequences for their actions and compassion very close by.

“If they would’ve come to the door and knocked and said we need some help, we’d go out of our way to help them but for whatever reason people don’t do that,” said Buckner.

Some area Boy Scout troops have stepped up and donated camping supplies. If you’re interested in helping the Boy Scouts or the church, call Chapel Hill United Methodist Church at 317-241-6163.

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