The Gardiner American Legion Smith-Wiley Post 4 wants a returnable bottle thief to know that the thefts hurt Scouts, not the Legion Post.

The shed attached to the rear of the Griffin Street building where the Legion stores the empty bottles has been broken into twice in the past 30 days.

Roger J. Paradis, post adjutant, said the money from the bottles is earmarked for Boy Scout Troop 613 of West Gardiner.

“If I can get something out to the people they might feel bad,” Paradis said. “They’re not taking it from the Legion, they’re taking it from the Boy Scouts.”

The Troop gets about $60 a month from the returnables, and uses it for various activities.

He’s offering a way to make amends, however.

“If the thief has a change of heart, just put the monies in an envelope in our back door,” he said.

Paradis estimates the thief got about $40 in returnables on the first theft, which Police Chief James Toman said was reported on July 31. One Aug. 29, however, there were far fewer bottles, Paradis said.

Along with the theft, the perpetrator damaged a lock and surrounding wood.

“The last time they actually took a pry bar to it and ripped the hasp right off,” Paradis said on Thursday.

Paradis said the Legion hall itself has an alarm system, and that while the shed shares a rear wall with the hall, it offers no access to the building.

“The investigations are open,” Toman said on Thursday. “We really don’t have too many leads. We have checked with some bottle places and they haven’t gotten back to us.”

He also said he always recommends that people invest in exterior security enhancements, such as motion lights or a camera system.

He also noted that the Legion hall is one of the locations checked nightly by Gardiner police.

Toman also reiterated that people should call police if they hear or see something suspicious.

Jeffrey DeHart, Scoutmaster of Troop 613, said Friday via email that John Bucci, who has two sons who are Eagle Scouts, has been collecting bottles to support the Troop for years and arranged to collect the Legion bottles and donate the proceeds to the Scouts.

“Hopefully the thief will see that he or she impacted more than just the Legion’s bottle shed/ slush fund and not do it again,” DeHart said.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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