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West Louisville food pantry burglarized four times in one month

Published: Jun. 9, 2021 at 3:47 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 7:54 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Sister Visitor Center, which provides free groceries and financial assistance to people in West Louisville has been a target for break-ins, burglarized four times in the past month, and the robbers are still on the run.

The trouble began in mid-May when thieves shattered the food pantry door and entered the building. A couple weeks later, burglars struck again through the same door, so staff bolted the entrance closed. That didn’t stop the thieves from breaking the front and main entrance a week later and rummaging through staffs’ offices looking for money.

During the most recent incident on Monday, robbers broke a front window and climbed inside the building, according to the director of Sister Visitor Center, Sister Paris Slapikas. Luckily, the only items the burglars managed to steal each time were groceries, which the center already gives away for free.

However, Slapikas told WAVE 3 News the break-ins are still “disappointing” and costly thanks to the four separate insurance deductibles Sister Visitor Center had to pay. The program would normally use that money to buy groceries for their clients and pay for their bills through the financial assistance services.

“We are going to have to invest probably $12,000 to $15,000, we think, to make some pretty significant (security) upgrades, because we can’t continue to put the same structure back,” Slapikas said. “The need in West Louisville and the community we serve is tremendous, so we need all the money that we have to go directly to the clients we’re serving, not to reinforce our building.”

Sister Visitor Center hopes to raise money to help cover the repair costs and security upgrades. In the meantime, the building’s doors and windows are boarded up. Despite that, throughout the chaos, the program has never stopped serving its clients and have even offered a helping hand to the thieves themselves.

“All our services are free, so there’s no need to break in and take what you need,” Slapikas said. “We’re here to help you. We want to help you.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact LMPD at 502-574-LMPD (5673).

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