BROCKTON (CBS) - An investigation is underway in Brockton after firefighters believe two Salvation Army donation bins were deliberately set on fire.
The bins were packed with clothing and other donated items that are often a lifeline for those in need. "It hurts, we feel that we're trying to give back to the community," said Capt. Mark Ferreira.
Items strewn on the ground were destroyed not just by smoke and fire, but also water as firefighters had to douse them. Capt. Ferreira says this is a crucial time of year for donations. "Particularly toward Christmas and getting through the winter," he said. "It's hard to take that hit with donations so vital right now."
The items make their way to the Salvation Army thrift store in Brockton that serves the community and helps support their programs. Donations were pouring in from people wondering who's capable of such vandalism.
"That's crazy, those people need to be taken off the street," said Jerome Pinckney.
"People are trying to donate the best stuff they have so someone else use it at cheaper cost so I think it's disappointment someone would ruin that stuff," said Jasmine Johnson.
It's a tradition of giving that's gone on for years with the Salvation Army and while the bins have been broken into before, this case is by far the worst. "These bins are left out and anyone can do anything to them. Maybe they should get them in an area that's protected," said Jan Zeoli as she dropped off donations.
The Brockton fire department is offering a $5000 reward for information, as the Salvation Army hopes the spirit of giving can overcome the destruction. "To have this happen is discouraging," said Capt. Ferreira.
Anyone with information is asked to call the ArsonWatch reward program at 1 (800) 682-9229.
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