Thieves target Lowcountry Habitat for Humanity homes

For months, Lowcountry Habitat for Humanity volunteers have been hard at work, building three homes on St. Helena Island. The homes are scheduled to be finished by the end of the month.

Barbara Dooley, Habitat for Humanity's executive director, said that to meet they grant they received for this particular site, they have been setting deadlines and records to make the deadlines. She said their volunteers have been working so hard and putting extra hours to meet the deadline.

"The last one went in last week on Thursday night and Friday morning we discovered they were all gone," said Dooley.

The homes are almost complete. Dooley said thieves put a wrench in their plans and stole the air conditioning units from behind each of the homes.

"I've been doing four days a week out here just trying to help meet the deadline and everyone has pitched in" said Gary Bull, a volunteer.

He said it's sad and frustrating. "We're trying to help these deserving families. It's a well-marked site that this is a Habitat project, apparently they didn't care," Bull said.

Each of the units cost about $2,000 and are essential to meeting their grant deadline.

"We can't get our certificate of occupancy until they've all been replaced so it sets us back," said Bull.

"We do have insurance and will follow a claim but we have a deductible equal to the cost of one of the units so one of them will be out of our pockets," said Dooley.

Despite the setback, Habitat volunteers say they're not letting anything stand in their way. They still plan on dedicating the homes on Saturday.

"I think we'll still be able to meet our deadline because again we have a very dedicated group of volunteers," said Dooley.

It's their labor of love that will make this dream of home ownership possible for three deserving families.

The dedication will take place 2 p.m. April 16.

Donations to the Lowcountry Habitat for Humanity can be mailed to:

Lowcountry Habitat for Humanity
616 Parris Island Gateway
Beaufort, SC 29906

You can also call 843.522.3500.

The Beaufort County Sheriff Office is still looking for the thieves responsible for stealing the air conditioning units. If you have any information, please call the sheriff's office at 843.524.2777.

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