MEMPHIS, Tenn.– A Soulsville community center was vandalized just weeks before its doors opened to the public.
Vanecia Kimbrow with the River Region Community Development Corporation described the damage done to the property as unbelievable.
Kimbrow said the new SoulsvilleUSA Community Arts and Economic Empowerment Center located at Mississippi Boulevard and Jennette Place was supposed to open next month and offer free services to children and adults in the community.
A week ago, the facility looked like a classroom with tables and chairs.
After returning from vacation Wednesday, Kimbrow discovered someone broke and stole almost everything inside including two air conditioning units, all the kitchen appliances, toilets and even the bathroom and ceiling tiles.
“They took the kitchen equipment so the stoves and refrigerators, the microwave all of the tables, all of the chairs. The building was set up classroom style,” she said.
She said the thieves were able to pry through a gate behind the church and destroy months of hard work.
“They’ve easily done a quarter, $300,000 worth of damage for a few thousand dollars. They destroyed months and months of work for nothing,” Kimbrow said.
She said the setback may delay the opening of the building for six months, but she’s still planning to roll out summer activities for the youth.
“We are going to get our porta potties, put a tent up and do exactly what we intended to do,” Kimbrow said.
Kimbrow said there is no surveillance video right now, but the thieves did leave behind DNA and fingerprints collected by police. She is offering a $1,000 reward for information.
If you know anything call Crime Stoppers at (901)-528-CASH.