SOUTH PORTLAND — When about 35 volunteers showed up this morning to build raised beds for the new Community Garden at Hamlin School, they noticed something amiss. 

About $500 worth of lumber had been stolen from a pile that was delivered about 4:30 p.m. Friday, said Community Garden Collective Vice President Helen Slocum. 

The community garden, located behind the former Hamlin School on the corner of Sawyer Street and Ocean Avenue, is in a fairly visible spot and a good neighborhood, Slocum said. The lumber had been piled beneath a street light. 

“I don’t know whether this was a crime of opportunity or somebody drove by and saw it and grabbed it,” she said. 

The group of volunteers were still able to build 32 of the 39 planned raised beds for the community garden, which will be used by local residents. Slocum said the collective will use a permaculture technique for the gardens and fill the beds with a mixture of organic materials this fall so it will be ready for planting next spring. 

The collective is sponsored by the nonprofit South Portland Land Trust and the lumber was paid for with grants and private donations.

For more information about the Community Garden Collective, visit www.communitygardencollective.com or email [email protected] with information regarding the stolen lumber.