FOX CROSSING, WIS. - More than 1,700 cases of donated diapers that were destined for babies from low-income families in Wisconsin were stolen recently from a warehouse, authorities said.
The theft, which apparently occurred between Jan. 3 and Feb. 13, involved 13 pallets of cases from the Fox Cities Diaper Bank, an initiative of United Way Fox Cities that gets widespread support from businesses, organizations and the community.
“That’s a lot of diapers and it serves a lot of people,” said Jason Weber, community liaison officer with the Fox Crossing Police Department. “This (theft) is a kick in the pants for a good program. That’s the sad part.”
Weber said the 1,777 cases of diapers, valued at $45,000, were taken from a warehouse in Fox Crossing. Organizers estimated that 100,000 individual diapers are now gone.
Nanci Micke, vice president of marketing and communities for United Way Fox Cities, said the Diaper Bank provides diapers to 875 babies from low-income families every month. In 2016, the program supplied 300,000 diapers to babies in the Fox Cities.
Weber said investigators are unsure whether the cases of diapers were taken in a single theft or in a series of thefts. He believes that a tow motor and truck would have been required to move the pallets out of the warehouse.
“They were there, and, all of a sudden, they weren’t there,” he said of the diapers.
Micke said organizers of the program “felt very sad” when they learned of the theft. Diapers are expensive, and the Diaper Bank is a valuable service to families who are hurting financially, she said.
“The main reason we all felt so terrible is they were donated diapers, and we know how important those diapers are to the families who receive them,” she said. “It is a need for so many families.
“(The theft) is taking these diapers away from the families who are least able to afford them.”
The investigation into the theft continues, according to Weber, who said he was taken aback by the scope of the theft.
“This is a terrible thing,” he said.
USA TODAY Network