by: Torie Wells Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Thieves are targeting Habitat for Humanity homes under construction.
They broke down doors, knocked out windows and took equipment.
The vandals hit four Habitat sites off Red Shed Lane.
Eyewitness News talked to a future homeowner that was heartbroken that she may have to wait even longer to move in.
"I did that myself. I am very proud of that," said Malesa Breelove.
She has spent hours on this house. She is proud of the work and the fact that it will be her first home.
"I will be the first of my mom's kids to own a home. It is a big deal," said Breelove.
She and Habitat for Humanity volunteers have been working fast so she and her three young children can move in for the New Year.
"I was like, 'Wow,'" she said.
Broken glass, stolen plumbing and lighting equipment could push that date back.
"It hurts. I am a little scared by it also," she said, "It is a setback in several ways."
Habitat for Humanity said Breelove's house is one of four Habitat homes in her neighborhood that have recently been damaged and had things stolen from inside.
Phil Prince said that sets the organization back financially, often pushes back move-in dates and hurts the people the charity is trying to help.
"There is the emotional cost to the homeowner because they already feel violated, even though they have not yet moved into the home," said Prince.
Habitat for Humanity depends on donations of money and time. It said the homeowners put in hundreds of hours themselves, which makes the thefts hurt even more.
They hope police catch those responsible.
"It is just so disappointing to think someone would break in and do this, to steal from someone who is in need and is working hard," said Prince.
"This is the time of giving and caring and loving. People are out robbing and stealing," said Breelove.