Lambing Flat Enterprises (LFE) are appealing for the public’s help after a vending machine used to fund their transition-to-work program was broken into and stolen.
They say the act has taken funds away from a valuable community-based project and left them without a machine that would cost $1300 to replace.
LFE employee and transition-to-work participant Marty Waite was the first to realise the vending machine had gone missing when he visited a site recently taken over by new owners.
“I went down and told them I was from LFE and they had a drink machine I needed to service,” Marty said.
“The guy just said it was ‘gone’.”
Marty went back with transition-to-work LFE employee Nathan Miller, and the owners this time said they had thrown it in the bin.
They asked to look in the bin but were told it had “gone”.
The next day when they went to the site, they found evidence that the vending machine had been broken into before being dumped.
Nathan and Marty said they saw a part of the machine laying on the ground as well as punctured soft drink cans.
They said the owners again changed their story, saying they left the vending machine out the front of the shop when they were moving in.
They believe whomever took the machine forced their way into it with an angle grinder, taking the money and cans of coke in it.
“We’re devastated someone could do this to us,” he said.
“All the money we get goes back into the transition-to-work program.
“Really they’re taking away from these guys (transition-to-work clients).
“That’s one less machine we get to make money off.”
Marty and Nathan asked if anyone had seen the machine - even if it was missing parts - to let them know, as they would still find a use for it.
Police have been contacted but said it was most likely a civil matter.