Food center damaged by vandals

Police estimate break-ins cost $4,000

Vandals who broke into the the Shawano Area Food Center on Sunday night, causing extensive damage, apparently returned for a second round of mayhem on Tuesday.

John Hill, who was instrumental in getting the food distribution center going and still oversees its operations, said Shawano police were on scene gathering additional evidence after the second break-in Tuesday afternoon.

Police estimated the vandals caused about $4,000 in damage during the first incident.

Nothing was stolen, however.

Hill said police believe the culprits are a group of area teenagers.

Numerous doors, freezer panels, a cooler and walls were among the items damaged. Some of the damage was done with a tow motor.

“It takes a pretty brazen person,” Hill said, to come back and wreak havoc on the facility a second time.

The vandals didn’t take any of the food that was on-site, though they did take and break a few pop bottles on the floor.

“They just drove the forklift around smashing into things,” Hill said. “There was no economic gain. It’s just nonsense.”

Despite the damage, the center will be open for regular operations from 8-10 a.m. Wednesday, Hill said. The center is also open from 8-10 a.m. Fridays.

The initial $4,000 damage estimate is roughly the same as half the center’s annual utility bills.

Hill said insurance should cover much of those costs after the $500 deductible.

Police said the incidents are under investigation.

The Shawano Area Food Center, part of the national Feed America program, distributes food to 21 food pantries and other outlets in the area, including the Shawano Area Food Pantry and Resource Center.