Photo By Erik Pague Thrift shop manager Mandy Jensen has posted additional signage around the collection area behind the shop in an attempt to dissuade vandals and other nuisances from disrupting their work. She said they’ve been exploring options with the property owner to fence off the area.
Mandy Jensen does her work because she likes to help people in need. She manages the thrift shop on Main Street and on most days at work, she prepares donated items to sell at the store to support the Adams County Developmental Disabilities program that provides employment opportunities for the developmentally disabled. But for the past several months, people have been abusing the donation collection area at the back of the building by stealing items, leaving garbage or dropping off unusable items after scheduled collection times are over. "I can watch my video camera and every night at about one o'clock in the morning, we get weirdos who come down here and steal stuff off the porch and vandalize it," she said. But now, people have even stolen three of the cameras off the wall. Jensen's called the police, but they can't watch their area all day and she's made sure to display the rules for the donation center clearly. But it hasn't stopped people from treating the place like their own personal landfill. The dumpster-diving problem had gotten so bad that Jensen even acquired a special waste bin with extra security to keep out the curious. Jensen said the employees in the shop aren't equipped to handle some of the oddball items left at the station and despite being a department of the county, they still have to pay out-of-pocket to haul the junk to the dump. Donations are only accepted weekdays from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Jensen asks people to use discretion by only giving up items that can be sold. "We can't sell anything that's covered in black mold," she said. To address the problem, Jensen is looking into getting some fencing installed in back to keep out trespassers in the future. This would require an agreement with the building's private owner, but Jensen said he's willing to move forward with them. She hopes a decision would be made in the next few months and that a permanent solution to the problem would be in place by the end of summer. Until then, Jensen asks people to pay close attention to the signs at the building and follow the rules to make the work for the many disabled folks helping out inside the shop a little easier. To learn more about the Adams County Development Center and what kind of donations they accept, call 488-5320.