Is taking items from a donation box considered stealing?

A 22News viewer caught some people taking donations off the street

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – When you donate an item to a charity, there’s a reasonable expectation that it gets to that charity.

We’re talking about those donation bins you find in parking lots across western Massachusetts. One 22News viewer caught some people taking donations off the street.

When you drop an item in or around these donation boxes, it’s meant to get to the intended charity. Kathy Limoges of Westfield told 22News she saw people taking items away from these donation boxes on East Main Street in Westfield on Monday.

“I saw at least three different cars pull up, two of them had two people and they were just filling their arms with clothing and other things, putting them in their car and driving off like it was no big deal,” said Limoges.

Those donations were meant are for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Westfield.  22News spoke to a representative there who told us they assume the people taking these items need them and at the end of the day that’s the service they provide.

“You think that when you donate to a charity you think that it automatically goes into the charity system you think that it’s going straight to the people who are in need you don’t really think about someone stealing it,” said West Springfield’s Matt Bittner.

But is it stealing? Westfield police told 22News that if you go into a donation box and take something it is a theft, because it’s the property of the charity at that point, but if the items are left outside the box, it’s a grey area where they can’t do much about it.

“That’s what everybody feels that’s the purpose of where its going to go, but if people need it I guess that would be okay too,” said Southampton’s Robin Ziemba.

To find out how to donate directly to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Westfield click here

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