Church in Emmen is tired of nocturnal clothes robbers and removes containers. ‘It was useless to say anything about it. They just went on with what they were doing’

The board of the Pauluskerk in Emmen has had the two clothing containers next to the church removed. They were emptied every night at night by clothes thieves who then made a gigantic mess of it.

The containers of Cordaid (formerly People in Need) stood for years in the parking lot next to the Catholic church on the Meerstraat, near the Emmer center. They were always generously filled and a Cordaid van came by every week to collect the handed in clothing. That went well for years, although there were some people who took garments out of the containers on their own to take them home.

Lately, however, things have gotten out of hand. In the night hours, Pastor Stiekema noted, the same people always came by to get clothes from the bins. Since they were on bicycles, it seems that they came from nearby. They took flashlights with them for their nightly job and one did his ‘work’ with a miner’s lamp on his head. They then cycled down the street with large amounts of clothing.

Huge mess

“Because they came so often and always took large quantities with them, it was not for their own use,” says pastor José Lange, who, like Stiekema, works for De Goede Herderparochie, to which the Pauluskerk belongs. According to Lange, the clothing thieves were sometimes approached at night by the pastor, who lives next to the church, but the men paid no attention. They continued unperturbed.

They left clothes they didn’t need next to the containers. “It was always a huge mess there in the morning, but clothing was also regularly found in the wider area,” says Lange. In the end it was decided that this was no longer possible and the containers were removed for good.

As far as Lange knows, the church has never called in the police to put an end to the undesirable practices. The Good Shepherd Parish thanks everyone who put clothes in the bins at the Meerstraat with good intentions in recent years.