SEATTLE -- A local nonprofit agency is turning to the community for help. Thieves broke into their storage units and stole thousands of dollars of tools. If the tools aren’t returned or replaced, they’re not sure if they can keep building wheelchair ramps for families in need.
Easton Chase loves to go to preschool and out for walks. But the 4-year-old has cerebral palsy, and his family say taking him out could be tough sometimes.
“There were days when it was like, do I want to pack up his feedbag and wheelchair and have to carry it all out,” says Travis Chase, Easton’s dad.
Three weeks ago, volunteers with the Puget Sound Labor Agency came to Easton’s house in Sumner and built him a wheelchair ramp.
“They measured his wheelchair to make sure the area at the bottom was big enough to turn around,” says Travis. “They asked us how steep we wanted it.”
Buying a custom-built ramp would have cost thousands of dollars, but the nonprofit agency only charged the family for the materials.
“Having that ramp has been like a whole new world. If we want to go for a walk, we load him up in the wheelchair we're out the door in two minutes.”
Right now, there are eight other families in Western Washington waiting to get their own wheelchair ramps. But the Puget Sound Labor Agency says they don't know when they'll be able to install them, without their tools.
Sometime in late October, thieves broke into the nonprofit’s storage units at the Port of Seattle. They stole $5,000 worth of tools.
“You can see the shelves in the back there,” says Morgan Stine. “That’s where we kept all the saws, drills, hammers. Everything we used to put these ramps in, it's all gone.”
The Port of Seattle Police are investigating. But right now, they don’t have any leads.
“You’re supposed to have an ID to come through the booth,” Stine says, as he points out where the storage units are located. “But there's no cameras around and there's a lot of different companies that work here on a daily basis.”
Stine says the thieves probably didn’t know who they were stealing from.
Easton’s family hopes someone can donate new tools, so the agency can keep building ramps and helping families in need.
“It’s unfortunate and I hope someone finds it in their heart to help them.”
If you’d like to donate, go to https://www.crowdrise.com/psla1/fundraiser/psla
Here is a list of tools that were stolen: