Ocala food pantry, women's center, pawn shop targeted by burglar



OCALA, Fla. - Marion County investigators say they have caught the person who targeted two groups helping families in need, and now they just need some help tracking down the stolen items.

Investigators said the burglar resold the stolen items.

WFTV's Melonie Holt spoke to Interfaith Emergency Services about how the theft hurts the families they're trying to help.

Interfaith Emergency Services was already struggling to meet the needs of Ocala families when it was targeted by a burglar.

"We've lost a riding lawn mower, two generators. We've lost a forklift, propane tank, a barbecue," said Thomas Curtis, of the Interfaith Emergency Services Food Pantry.

Those items are needed in the food pantry and at the shelter, and the nonprofit can't afford to replace them.

"It's insulting. It hurts when someone comes in to steal things that are meant to help people," said Curtis.

Less than a mile from Interfaith's warehouse, a pawn shop was targeted. The Alpha Center for Women was burglarized, too. Hundreds of dollars in diapers and baby items were stolen.

Ocala police have charged 43-year-old Tyrone Foster with three burglaries at the Alpha Center, the pawn shop burglary and an August burglary at Interfaith.

Foster also faces domestic violence charges in an unrelated case. On Thursday, Foster made a first court appearance.

According to police, the stolen items were sold at an apartment complex a couple of miles away from the burglaries.

"The detective is asking anyone with diapers marked ACW, for Alpha Center for Women," said Ocala police Sgt. Chas Maier. "If you have any diapers, no matter how you got them, we really won't ask any question if you could call us."

Fifty to 60 families visit the Interfaith Emergency Services pantry every day.

For more information on the organization, click here.