Winter Garden nonprofit says thieves have been stealing donations

Matthew’s Hope Ministries in Winter Garden says there have been several thefts of donations recently.

“It’s very interesting how they pull in. They pop the trunk and they just grab things,” Matthew’s Hope Founder Scott Billue said. “They don’t even know what they’re grabbing, and they just start shoving in the back of their vehicle.”

Matthew’s Hope shared video on social media showing donations being stolen from the property.                                                                               

“We have a gentleman that’s been by about four times now driving a BMW,” Billue said.

The founder of the organization, Scott Billue, said his cameras have caught several people doing this almost every night.

“Quite honestly, the few people that we caught so far weren’t homeless,” Billue said.

Matthew’s Hope is a nonprofit that provides services for homeless people.

Since the pandemic started, Billue said they’ve seen a 300% increase in the amount of people they’ve been helping.

The nonprofit doesn't get assistance from the government to run its ministry and have had to cancel all of its fundraising events because of COVID-19.

“We really depend on the community to give us that support and when we don’t have it, that’s really a problem for us,” Billue said.

Billue said community members often leave donations outside of the building after hours. That’s when the thieves strike.

There are signs telling donors to wait until the center is open. There are also signs that say there are cameras and if you are caught stealing, the video will be posted to social media.

Winter Garden police are working to identify suspects and press charges.

“It wasn’t there for you to take,” Billue said. “If you need help, come to the front door. There is no one we’ve turned away from helping in one form of another.”

If you have any information about these thefts, you’re asked to contact Matthew’s Hope directly or Winter Garden police.