El Cajon

Have You Seen Them? East County-based ‘Home of Guiding Hands' Looking for Two People After Break-in

“Why would somebody take from a non-profit in the first place, and then especially during the holidays,” said Edward Hershey, President and CEO of Home of Guiding Hands

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A local non-profit organization dedicated to offering services for San Diegans of all ages with developmental disabilities, called Home of Guiding Hands (HGH), is looking for a Grinch (or two) after experiencing a theft at their headquarters during the peak of the holiday season.

“Why would somebody take from a non-profit in the first place, and then especially during the holidays, when it is a time of giving and celebrating and being thankful for what you have,” said Edward Hershey, President and CEO of Home of Guiding Hands.

On Monday, at around 2 a.m. the organization says two people were captured by a security camera going around the parking lot at their El Cajon property and attempting to open vehicle doors. The El Cajon Police Department said, in a statement, that the two people eventually took, “tools from a vehicle in the secured parking lot.”

“Early Monday morning we got alarms going off on our property,” said Hershey. “It just made for a difficult, kind of a downer. We just finished celebrating a lot of holidays here in the office– brought in some of our residential programs, Santa came to visit. We had really left last week on a high note, and then really got hit, kind of a sucker punch starting with this week.”

At least $1,000 worth of equipment was stolen, according to a spokesperson for HGH. While they acknowledge that it could have been worse, Hershey explained that these items, specifically, will take a toll on their ability to offer services to residential clients. According to their website, HGH operates more than 30 four-to-six person homes and also offers home-based services in San Diego County and Imperial Valley.

“Losing these tools has a tremendous impact on our residents,” said Hershey. “It prevents our maintenance staff from being able to do the job. Now they have to go out [and] purchase new tools. We’re good stewards for the people that donate money to our program and this is taking away from not only the people that we serve, but also our donors as well.”

Hershey added that the two people may have also tried stealing one of their vehicles, which has been critical in their ability to help the community with pandemic-related needs. When asked if the two people were attempting to take any of the vehicles on the property, ECPD said they did not have information on this, but they did confirm at least one of the cars was entered at the time of the break-in.

“These [vehicles] were the ones that we run supplies [with]. We’ve partnered with the San Diego Regional Center and the State Disability Council and we’ve been providing PPE for San Diego and Imperial County,” said Hershey, who added that HGH has distributed millions of pieces of PPE since March 2020.

Hershey hopes the community will be able to help recover HGH’s stolen items, and restore the holiday spirit, after seeing the two people in the security footage. ECPD is asking anyone with information to call their department at 619-579-3311 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

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