Busted! Stealing From Needy

CBS Affiliate WTVF conducted a four-month video surveillance of Feed the Children distribution center in Nashville, Tenn., that uncovered disturbing practices.

The tapes shot by WTVF show the director and about a half dozen other administrative employees taking boxes of donated goods from the warehouse and loading them into the car.

WTVF Correspondent Jennifer Kraus says that family members were also caught in the act, with the mother and son of the assistant director carting out several boxes of brand-new clothing.

WTVF was tipped off by warehouse employees who were uncomfortable with what they were witnessing on a daily basis. Those employees told WTVF that they'd called and e-mailed Feed the Children Headquarters in Oklahoma City but got no response from officials there.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation raided the homes of employees Monday after seeing the WTVF tapes. They confiscated boxes of clothing, (some brand new with the labels still on), food and other household items.

Larry Jones, president and founder of Feed the Children says he's launched his own investigation and has fired the Nashville-based director. He says the organization will explore the possibility that some of the items may have been taken for legitimate reasons -- for example, to be laundered at an employees home or to be delivered to needy local people who could not get to the warehouse.

He calls what happened in Nashville an unfortunate situation and claims he had no idea it was going on. "Donated items are not perks for employees," he says.

When confronted by WTVF, Steve Highfill, executive director of the Nashville facility, initially denied knowing about the employees taking goods home. However, when he was pushed further during the interview, he said he didn't see anything wrong with an employee taking home a pair of shoes and giving them to a brother or sister.

"If that's wrong, fine," he said. "I don't think so. And I don't think people are going to think that's wrong."

Highfill is one of the executives WTVF's undercover camera captured as he was removing boxes from the facility.

Among the items removed from the warehouse were designer clothing with the tags still attached, shoes, household goods and beauty products that had been donated to help people in need.

No charges have been filed against any of the employees but state and local authorities are still investigating. They tell Kraus that they are not ruling out the possibility of making some arrests down the road.

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