PARCHMENT, Mich. — Colleen Heuser said this has been a whirlwind week for her. She’s a scoutmaster with troop 218 and since Monday their trailer was stolen and returned back to them days later.
“I was excited that they found the trailer,” said Heuser about the night the police called her. “But hopeful that they had the equipment still intact.”
Heuser said the trailer was taken from the parking lot of Parchment United Methodist church sometime between Sunday and Monday night. A scout leader went to put a few items in the trailer Monday night and saw that it was gone. They promptly filed a police report and Thursday Kalamazoo County deputies were tipped off that it was on McKinley Street in Cooper Township. Immediately Heuser met the deputies at the scene.
“The police officer was standing right next to me and he goes ‘you’re not going to like this,’” said Heuser during an interview in the church’s parking lot. “He opened it up and I just was like, it was late, and I was just devastated. I was hopeful and then it just came crashing down.”
Everything was gone. The camping canopy, kitchenware, stoves, ice chests, watercolors, a brand new grill — all of it valued at almost $10,000 — was stolen she said.
“It was stuffed,” said Heuser about the trailer before it was taken. “When I opened up the door last night they even took out the wood shelves that we had made for it.”
So the troop created a GoFundMe page to raise money to buy what was stolen, she said. They have a few events coming up including a Halloween-themed campout next month and they didn’t want to cancel it. The page has been up since Tuesday and already $2,000 has been raised.
“We’ve had camping equipment donated,” said Heuser. “I’m just very humbled and shocked at the same time. And humbled that people stepped up when they need to step up.”
Heuser said that deputies already have one person in custody. The trailer is now at an undisclosed location with a few people keeping an eye on it. Overall she’s grateful it’s been returned. But she hopes her troop learn a lesson too.
“Don’t give up hope,” said Heuser. “This is a devastating thing to our troop. But we will survive. We’re scouts.”