Ten gift cards valued at $25 each – meant to be donated to struggling women and children in the Easton area – were allegedly stolen last Thursday night from in front of the Landis Center.
They were included in a pile of gifts donated to the annual Holiday Helpers drive, which Landis Center holds during the holiday season to collect a variety gifts, such as gift cards, diapers and children’s toys.
Director of the Landis Center Amber Zuber, who was out on leave when the alleged theft occurred, wrote in an email that she was deeply saddened to hear the news.
“We were very upset and disappointed, especially since we know how much the moms appreciate the extra support around the holidays,” she wrote. “Our community partners tell us that most often, the mothers use the gift card funds to buy something special for their babies, and we intentionally request gift cards for Target, Giant and Walmart since these stores are most easily accessible by public transportation.”
A majority of those who participated brought their gifts to the Landis Center during the office’s open hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. But when the Landis Center closed on Thursday night, the remaining gifts were left outside of the Landis Center, according to Holiday Helpers team leader Lauren Hunt, so people could drop their gifts off.
“The purpose of this gift drive is to help underprivileged mothers and children of Easton,” Hunt said. “Where the helpers handed in the gifts was a sign that said what the gift drive was about. The person must deliberately had to have looked up at what the gift drive was and just took the cards.”
The morning after the alleged incident, Hunt called the Lafayette College Office of Public Safety to report the incident and was told she would hear back from them about it. As of press time Wednesday night, she had not received the promised call.
“[Friday] morning someone went back to add an item to their gift, and she noticed that her gift card was stolen,” Hunt said. “And she looked into the other gifts, and their gift cards were stolen, as well.”
Director of Public Safety Jeff Troxell said he was not aware of a report being filed about a theft from Holiday Helpers and could not locate one at public safety’s office. Hunt described the lack of a response she received from public safety after her call as “uncooperative.”