Major Larry Bridger of the Salvation Army fills a backpack with food for students in need. (Advocate file photo).

Major Larry Bridger of the Salvation Army fills a backpack with food for students in need. (Advocate file photo).

Red Deer’s Salvation Army vehicles vandalized twice in six weeks

Police investigating Sept. 10 and Oct. 21 incidents

Red Deer’s Salvation Army had two vehicles vandalized in the past six weeks — including all four tires slashed on its delivery van Saturday night.

“We don’t know who the individuals are … but unfortunately it costs us money that we could use to do some good in the community,” said Major Larry Bridger, director/pastor of the local Salvation Army church and non-profit service organization.

The latest vandalism occurred just before 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21.

Two men were caught by video camera approaching the Salvation Army’s cargo van, parked behind the organization’s office on 54th Street in downtown Red Deer.

Bridger said one of the men can be seen watching the street while the other slashes all four of the van’s tires.

The earlier incident from Sept. 10 involved the Salvation Army’s smaller vehicle, a mini van.

Bridger said a man was caught on video breaking one of the van’s windows in an apparent robbery attempt. Nothing was stolen because nothing of value is ever left in a Salvation Army vehicle, he added.

Police are investigating both incidents.

“It’s a little disheartening that people out there (doing this) … I don’t know any reason for it, other than mischief,” said Bridger, who can’t recall any disputes with community members that might have led to retaliation.

The Salvation Army stopped offering public washrooms about a year ago, after toilets were backing up because drug users were flushing needles. Bridger doesn’t believe this would have ignited anger after so much time.

The damage in both cases will likely be covered by insurance, but the non-profit will be paying the deductibles.

Bridger said the cargo van’s tires had to be replaced immediately, since is it’s used to pick up supplies, as well as deliver food for kids from 13 schools. “There are 200 kids we provide meals for. We provide them with breakfast, lunch and supper on Saturdays and Sundays …

“We rely on that vehicle for our deliveries.”

Anyone with information about either incident is asked to call Red Deer RCMP, or the Salvation Army.

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