Nearly $8K in baby supplies stolen from Naples church group

Volunteers with the Gabriel Project at St. Ann Catholic Church in Naples say somebody broke into their storage unit and ransacked their supplies, leaving almost nothing behind.

The group works with pregnant women and said they don’t know how they’re going to restock any time soon.

“I just don’t know how we’re going to recover everything,” said Marylee Metts, Gabriel Project co-chair. “I don’t know where to turn next.”

Among the supplies stolen were baby bottles, diapers and hand-knit sweaters.

“Everything was taken from us,” Metts said. “High chairs, baby buggies … baby bathtubs.”

The amount of supplies stolen totals nearly $8,000 in donations meant for expecting moms and newborn babies.

“You stole from people in need,” Metts said. “And, on top of it, it’s babies. How dare you steal from a baby.”

Co-chairs Metts and Carol Ardovino are at a loss after finding their storage unit at the church ransacked.

“I open the door, and all the air was taken out of my lungs,” Metts said. “I couldn’t say anything.”

Mets said the thieves hit several storage units at the site off Radio Road in Collier County, but their items are hard to track. There are no indicators like serial numbers on diapers.

“I had 48 baby bottles in here taken, formula taken,” Metts said. “Floor to ceiling diapers, we’re left with what you can see here.”

But they said it isn’t just ripping the steel shelves from the walls, stealing the 16 tubs of maternity clothes or even taking their Christmas decorations that has hurt them the most.

“It’s affecting families that are in need,” Metts said. “I don’t have anything.”

While the donations will be cut back temporally, they know babies’ needs are still there.

“I just don’t know how we’re going to recover everything,” Metts said. “I don’t know where to turn next.”

For now, they say they are restocking as much as they can with their own money and hoping Collier County Sheriff’s Office will catch the crooks.

The group said the lock on their unit was found picked. And the sheriff’s office is looking into it.

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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