Volunteers become victims in Biloxi

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It's not how volunteers Mark Jones and Traci Frees expected to leave South Mississippi.  Someone broke into the couple's RV earlier this week leaving the couple with more than $6,000 in damages.

After leaving the volunteer site for a couple of days, they returned to find their RV  trashed with broken windows, stolen televisions and cut curtains.  For Frees, it's the little things that leaves her asking why.

"Pork and beans sitting on the sink... eating and dirty dishes left in the sink," Frees said. "It was like why would you break into our RV, rob us and eat in our kitchen?"

The couple still owes money on the RV.  They had minimal coverage, but weren't covered for vandalism because they couldn't afford it.  In addition to the damages, they found their personal belongings in bags and boxes on their beds.

"It looked clear to the police that they were planning on coming back to take those things," Jones said.

But there was more. The toilets the volunteers had used and the couple planned to donate had been ripped out.

"It was like, what else could they take?  But, our hearts still want to help people anyway we can, we want to.  But, it breaks your heart and you have to heal after something like that happens," Frees said.

Though hurt after giving so much to help, the couple realizes this isn't representative of the community.

"One person doing a malicious act is not the hearts of the people we came down here to help," Frees said.

The couple said police have beefed up patrols in the area off Howard Avenue.  Urban Life Ministry Relief has put more than 1200 people in homes over the past three years.

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