By Nick Sinis

THE theft of $2500 worth of power tools from the Phillip Island Community and Learning Centre (PICAL) will impact the most vulnerable in the community, the centre said.
The power tools were used to develop PICAL’s vegetable garden, which provides fresh produce for its food relief program.
And the theft couldn’t have come at a worse time, with the organisation vital to supporting the community after the devastating storm.
Centre manager Greg Thompson said they believed the incident occurred on Sunday, June 13, as members noticed a window had been forced open on Monday morning.
“When our garden crew got in on Tuesday morning, they noticed about $2500 worth of relatively new cordless power tools had been stolen,” Mr Thompson said.
“We think it was an opportunistic theft, they jimmied open one of the windows to our training room but unfortunately, that leads through to a tool storage area.”
Mr Thompson said no other items were stolen but it appeared the thieves had planned to steal more.
“One of our rooms occupies the Phillip Island and San Remo chapter of Boomerang Bags,” he said.
“Their room had been broken into because some of their sowing machines had been placed on the floor ready to be taken.”
Being one of the region’s largest food relief outlets, Mr Thompson said they were temporarily “crippled” as they couldn’t construct new garden beds or do anything requiring power tools.
“We can’t extend the amount of produce we’re pulling out of the garden for the program,” he said.
“That’s what these thieves have done, they’ve actually hit the most vulnerable in the community.”
Fortunately, the power tools are covered by insurance, which were purchased through grants and donations.
Anyone who notices new Makita or Milwaukee power tools being sold locally should contact Cowes police on 5952 2037 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.