LA PINE, Ore. - The executive director of a food pantry in La Pine said more than $1,000 worth of food was stolen last week.
Stacie Derhak said Tuesday that someone crawled through the window of the donated chicken coop at the La Pine Community Kitchen on Finley Butte Road, then climbed into the pig pen to steal food.
Derhak said meats, pastries, breads and tortilla chips were among the items stolen. She discovered the break-in when she arrived for work last Wednesday
Derhak said the kitchen was fully stocked before the incident. After the break-in, Derhak said there was not enough food to give out to clients last Friday. She is worried that people would go hungry.
"If you can imagine not having a meal -- how do you function during the day when you are hungry?” Derhak said. “How can you go out and take care of the services you need to take care of, how do you find a job if you're starving? How do you think properly? You get lethargic. You don't have the ability to function properly. For some of these people, this is the only meal they get in a day."
Derhak said the community kitchen serves up to 90 hot meals and 150 food boxes per day. She estimates 100 people could have been fed with the food that was stolen.
"Why would somebody do that when they're trying to help you out? That's exactly my thoughts,” said Orazio Pisapio, who’s been a client of the food pantry since November. “Why would somebody break into a place that is willing to give it to you if you ask, instead of just being that way? That's just the nicest way I can put it."
This is not the first time someone's broken into the food pantry. Derhak said someone stole food last summer. That suspect was never caught.
Deputies said this most recent break-in is under investigation. They said no arrests have been made.
"It had to have been someone who understands our operation, because they knew the exact day to come and get the food,” Derhak said. “They knew where to go to avoid all the cameras, and they knew exactly where we stored it in our produce stand so that they could get in and out very quickly."
If you have any information that could help with the investigation, contact the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office dispatch at (541) 693-6911.