500 lbs of candy and equipment stolen from youth outreach organization

Fresh Paint Outreach ministries is a non-profit organization that travels across the country to low economic areas, helping kids in need.

And now, The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department is investigating the theft of items from several of their trailers over the last few months.

The ministry isn't sure of all of their missing belongings yet, but have discovered that 500 lbs of candy, expensive audio and staging equipment, are gone,. 

On Monday afternoon, the ministry reported the theft of several items from trailers within a fenced area in the 53000 block of Adams Street.  

Bruce Rechtsteiner is the founder and leader of the outreach organization.  He just arrived back in Elkhart, after spending the last few months on the West Coast, working on a Native American reservation.  And this is what he returned home too. 

The theft happened sometime between December 2015 and September 12, 2016 - while Rechtsteiner was away. And he estimates that there is about $20-25,000 in damages and losses.

The candy is used for the program's well-known carnivals. At these carnivals, kids play games and earn coins that they can redeem for necessities such as sneakers and coats.  

Rechtsteiner is determined to not let it delay their plans anymore.  The group is supposed to head to Tennessee in a couple of weeks, and are now scrambling to gather items needed for the carnival.

The stage equipment was taken, and the custom made stage cover has holes cut in the side of it. 

The thieves also took the audio equipment, used for the carnival.

Rechtsteiner says he hopes the community will help him continue his mission in helping kids in need. 

If you have any information in this case, contact the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department.

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