Carol Browning (from left), Bob MacGregor, and Bob Hall load wood into wheelbarrows at the Waldo County Woodshed in Searsmont Saturday. The Waldo County Woodshed is a charitable organization that gives out firewood to needy families to heat their homes during the winter. They have seen a dramatic increase in the volume of wood it donates across the area. Credit: Ashley L. Conti / BDN

Vandals targeting the Waldo County Woodshed destroyed a gas tank in the nonprofit’s dump truck and stole gas cans recently, leaving the volunteer-run nonprofit struggling to keep up with wood demand as temperatures drop.

Waldo County Woodshed founder Bob MacGregor first discovered someone had cut a hose the woodshed uses to fill its dump truck with gas on Jan. 21. When he went to repair the hose last Friday, MacGregor discovered that the thief had also drilled holes into the truck’s gas tank and drained all of the gas. The thief additionally stole two cans of gas.

“Why ruin the gas tank, if you’re just stealing the gas,” MacGregor said.

Fortunately, the woodshed recently purchased a new truck so the vandalism isn’t impacting the wood transport that the damaged truck was previously used for, MacGregor said.

This isn’t the woodshed’s first run-in with thieves. In recent months, MacGregor said people have been taking firewood without getting authorization from the woodshed first. But he believes there’s a distinction between those incidents and what’s happened these last couple of weeks.

“It’s just not how it works, but hopefully [the wood] went to someone who really needed it,” he said.

The woodshed has reported the theft to the Maine State Police and is awaiting an estimate on repairs to the gas tank. At this point, MacGregor has no idea what the bill will look like. He’s hopeful the repairs will be covered by insurance.

“All the money that goes into repairs that would have gone into running the woodshed takes away from what we do,” he said.

MacGregor said the truck that was damaged is an old truck that will be sold off once it’s repaired. 

“It just hurts to think that here we are trying to help people out and somebody comes and vandalizes our equipment —  it’s a kick in the gut,” MacGregor said.