GASTONIA, N.C. - On Tuesday, a commercial dumpster sat behind the Food Lion on North New Hope Road, piled with rotting meat, frozen food, bakery and deli items.
The items were all tossed due to a power outage after officials said vandals cut the main power lines to the store while trying to steal copper on Sunday.
Chopper 9 Skyzoom flew over the dumpster behind the Food Lion because company policy doesn't allow cameras on the property.
Images from Chopper 9 showed boxes of baked goods in the dumpster.
Customers like Donnie Mcginnis said they couldn't believe it.
"It's just ridiculous that people would do something like this for money. I mean get a job, people. That's wasted food that could be in someone's mouth," Mcginnis said.
Tom Moore, who owns Franky T's pizza in the same shopping complex, said the area struggles with crime.
"It's not surprising. We've had numerous problems here in the past," he said.
Moore said he's seen other cases of vandalism, as well as vagrancy, and drug deals in the parking lot.
Neighboring businesses told Channel 9 that Food Lion had to get rid of more than $60,000 worth of food.
The store won't confirm that amount, but employees did say they lost the entire deli.
Company spokesman Matt Harakal said the store has a backup power source, but limited freezer space, and that's why so much food ended up baking in the July sun.
One employee said they were running around in the dark early Sunday, trying to save what they could.
Harakal said food safety comes first, of course, but they hated having to throw away that much food.
The food can't be donated because the health concerns about selling the food are the same as they would be giving it away.
Gastonia police have not yet released any suspect information or surveillance video of the incident.
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