Give holiday stealing a harsher penalty

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It’s difficult to watch those news videos during the holiday season when they show someone caught in the act of stealing gifts or money that are meant for the needy.
It’s depressing to know that people do that, especially at a time of year when so many families need a helping hand through the season and that others can be generous enough to help. But, there it is, right on camera. People stealing money cans filled with donations; people stealing Christmas gifts accumulating in collection boxes.
The good thing about the videos is that the thieves usually can be identified and hopefully apprehended.
Still, there’s something disheartening about knowing that some people will take whatever they can from whomever they can.
Unfortunately, the Sumter County Youth Center is dealing with a similar situation: People stealing from those less fortunate.
But, times are changing and suspected thieves are now facing charges for their actions.
While the thievery problem isn’t enormous at the Bushnell center, it is problematic and it does cut in to funding for services that the center provides to lower income youngsters.
The majority of the problem comes when people drop off donations in front of the center after hours.
That’s when thieves pull up and just take whatever goods have been left at the center.
But the recent addition of surveillance cameras and beefed-up patrolling by the Bushnell Police Department is having an impact.
Suspected thieves are being caught on camera and they are being prosecuted.
That’s the good news.
As the center clamps down on thievery, we hope that the judicial system provides maximum penalties for the people responsible for stealing from the center.
There really are three different victims in this sort of crime: customers on tight incomes who need to find bargains like the ones the center provides, the center itself and the youngsters who benefit from the funding the thrift store provides.
It would be a good idea for legislators to consider passing new laws that enact stiffer penalties for people who steal from charitable and non-profit organizations. They deserve harsher penalties.