Dubuque business aids local Habitat for Humanity - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque business aids local Habitat for Humanity

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A local organization is back on the job this weekend after its tools were stolen last month. The Dubuque and Jackson County chapter of Habitat for Humanity had more than $3,000 worth of power tools stolen from a construction site on Washington Street sometime between July 12 and July 16.

"I opened the trailer and everything looked normal. I opened the lock and opened the door, walked in and thought, 'There is an awful lot of room in this trailer,'" said volunteer Jerry Fudge.

The organization had been working on a house located on Washington Street in Dubuque for a long time, according to Eric Veltstra, executive director of the Dubuque and Jackson County Habitat for Humanity chapter.

"This is one of the houses in the Bee Branch Project that was moved a couple of years ago to this new location," Veltstra said. "We are doing a rehab of it."

Veltstra said this is the largest theft the organization has faced in nearly two decades.

"I was pretty upset knowing that they would steal from a charitable organization," said Fudge. "We work hard to raise money to do this and some people to come and steal all of our tools ... It really put me in a low spot."

The Dubuque and Jackson County Habitat for Humanity organization does have insurance for the buildings and volunteers, but Veltstra said adding tools to that would make the deductible for the insurance claim is too high.

"In order to keep it affordable we have to carry a high deductible, and that wouldn't cover any of the tools in this case," Veltstra said.

Since the tools were stolen in July, dozens of individuals and organizations have offered to donate tools to help the project get completed on time. Jerry Fudge said volunteers have been working on the house since the tools were stolen, but doing limited work. On Thursday, the group accepted a donation from Theisen's of all the tools that were stolen.

"It feels wonderful, we can be out here today doing this work with the new tools. We would be sitting dead without them," Fudge said.

Fudge said so far the organization has 95% of the tools they need to complete the project. He said the other tools will be coming in the coming weeks.

Habitat leaders said Saturday the tools will stored in a storage facility when they are not in use. Fudge also mentioned workers only take out the tools they need at the time.

The house is on schedule to be completed this fall. If you have an information about these stolen tools, Veltstra asks you contact the Dubuque Police Department.

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