Thieves Target Stockton American Legion Hall

STOCKTON (CBS13) — Leaders of the American Legion Karl Ross Post No. 16 in Stockton are on a mission to keep thieves far away from their beloved hall.

Since September, the facility which is located on Plymouth Road and Country Club Boulevard off of Interstate 5 has been broken into a half a dozen times.

As members of the post prepare for another community event this week – many worry about their personal belongings being stolen when they’re not looking.

“Since, September of last year, we’ve been broken into six times, and that’s minor. The year before, it was a lot more than that,” said Ted Winkelman, commander, American Legion Karl Ross Post No. 16

Members aren’t sure why the post has become a magnet for thieves. The nonprofit is secured with a gate and has six surveillance cameras on 24-7. The latest burglary happened a day after a group rented the post for a special event.

“He crawled underneath the floor, broke through the foundation vent and slithered on the floor like a snake because he knew there would be a good chance there would be motion sensors,” he said.

The thief walked away with $12,000 worth of rented equipment. The man also used bull cutters to cut padlocks on all doors but didn’t find anything.

“Breaking into our post was an insult. It was a personal attack to us,” said Tino Adame, veteran and member of the post.

The post commander says one time; a person broke in and only stole three cases of beer. Another time, someone walked away with 18-hundred rounds of ammunition.

“We take it very personal. We put a lot of work; we put a lot of pride, all of us working together as a family auxiliary,” said Adame.

The post has insurance, but with a $1,000 deductible, the commander says it’s not worth filing a claim. Instead, they plan to beef up their security.

“We’ll survive. We fall down; we get up. We dust ourselves off and keep on going,” he said.

Leaders with the post are in the process of installing eight additional security cameras on the property and have added extra chains for their gate. They hope that will keep thieves far away.

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