BARBERTON, Ohio (WJW) – A Summit County business owner said he was trying to help the community when he became the victim of a crime.
It took just seconds to ruin a charitable effort for families in need and the whole incident was caught on camera.
“They pulled in the side lot, zipped up super-fast,” said Terry Rastetter-Helbling, owner of Skoops Ice Cream in Barberton. “It was just like a heist. They were in and out in probably 45 seconds to a minute.”
A coat donation drive at Skoops Ice Cream was underway for families in need last week when several called asking if they could pick up a coat after hours due to work scheduling conflicts.
Rastetter-Helbling said several dozen coats were left outside as requested, but what happened around 2 a.m. Wednesday left him stunned.
“They took everything, the cones, the tables, all the coats, everything just all in one swoop,” he said. “Speechless. Like, the fact of wanting to know why. I could see if you needed to take three or four coats, if you needed to give them to other people, but everything plus the tables and the cones.”
The crime was caught on business surveillance video, but the owner says there’s no arrests so far in this loss of up to $350.
“You try to do good things. Just takes one person to kind of ruin it, but at the same time, we didn’t let them,” said Rastetter-Helbling.
After posting about the crime on social media, the community rallied around the cause, helping to collect even more coats than initially stolen.
“We were able to give away a little over 800 pieces, so that’s coats, hats, sets of gloves, scarves and everything which is about eight times more than we were able to last year,” said Rastetter-Helbling.
The setback turned out to be a set up for an even greater effort to help those in need.
“It was person after person, after person, after person was just dropping stuff off,” he said. “It was the most amazing few days that we were able to do.”