Ellensburg Residents In Outrage Over Donation Scam
People at the heart of the Taylor Bridge Fire relief efforts are in shock tonight, after learning that a woman was arrested for trying to sell 200 donated items intended for fire victims.
MaryAnn Thorpe sorted through supplies donated for Taylor Bridge Fire victims with the Ellensburg Community Closet manager Kallee Knudson.
Thorpe is getting the items to take to her home where she is hosting two men who lost their homes in the fire.
"I'm housing two people that had lost everything in the fires, their houses burned straight to the ground, and they only had the clothes on their back," said Thorpe.
And those may have remained the only clothes on their back because of the actions of a Kittitas County woman.
Yesterday the Kittitas County Sheriff's Department arrested 20-year-old Kaysee Hancock, who was allegedly collecting donations from the community closet to sell on the internet.
Knudson says Hancock walked into the Community Closet and requested numerous amounts of baby clothes and adult outfits for another family who lost their home to the fire.
Knudson says Hancock was inside the Community Closet for almost 6 hours. It was at that point when Knudson said 'something isn't right.'
Knudson says a friend showed her a website that night, where Hancock had posted the items on for sale.
"I definitely verified that those are the items that were taken from us, along with the things that I donated, that my sisters donated, so we knew for sure that she was selling these items to make a profit off of," said Knudson.
Sheriffs contacted Hancock through the website and arrested her when she tried to sell items to an undercover sheriff's deputy.
All of the stolen items were recovered.
Knudson says she is still shocked that someone would take advantage of a charity she put together.
"I've put in a lot of effort here, and the volunteers, and this community and everybody that donated things thinking that these items are going to go to people affected by the fire. And it just really saddened me that someone would do something like that," said Knudson.
As for MaryAnn Thorpe, the feeling is mutual
"The thought of them just taking stuff and selling it is just... So bad. I'm just appalled to hear about something like that," said Thorpe.
Hancock was released without bail pending the official filing of charges. She is scheduled to be arraigned on September 10.