Thieves making drought relief efforts difficult in East Porterville

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thieves are making drought relief efforts difficult for a non-profit in East Porterville.

Fred Beltran Jr.'s work is at a stand still, "Big blow to us, it was big," he said.

Beltran is a volunteer with the Porterville Area Coordinating Council. He's been on the front lines of the drought for ten months, installing water tanks and pumps on the East side of Porterville, where wells are dry but he can't do it anymore because thieves stole all of his tools.

Beltran said, "It's the third time we've had some stuff stolen, and they came in and they hit us hard, wiped us out."

It all disappeared over the weekend from P.A.C.C.'s water station -- along with a couple pumps, an air compressor, a pressure washer and a truck.

Elva Beltran runs the non-profit. She says it's affecting the people she helps and one couple in particular, is desperately in need of assistance, "That makes me feel horrible," Beltran added, "This is a couple that's 83, they need our help and I know no one else is going to come to their rescue."

On Tuesday, word got out and donations started pouring in; a dollar from Oregon, a ten dollar bill from Texas. There were also donations that came from closer to home.

Mike Tyler donated pressure washer and some tools with money he rounded up from his friends. "We're always taught to help people, these guys truly help everybody so it just made sense," Tyler said.

Beltran says he's still down but not out. He's hoping to raise more money to replace the rest of the tools and get back to work.

"Pick our feet up, dust ourselves off, keep our heads up and continue to help these people," Beltran said.
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