SH responds with shopping spree after break-in at store

Sean C. Morgan

In response to the fifth in a series of burglaries at Santiam Feed and Garden, Sweet Home residents showed up in shopping force last week to support the longtime local business.

Jason Redick, son-in-law of the owners, said that during the night of July 2, burglars cut the chain on a loading gate to gain access to the store and then took a red Radio Flyer wagon with side rails, a cast iron pot with flowers in it and various plants.

The items have no secondary market value, he said, and are most likely sitting in someone’s yard.

The wagon was a boyhood toy of the owners’ grandsons, Gabriel and Gavin Redick.

Owner Garry Burks said this was the fifth time someone had broken into the nursery this summer. This is the second time the thief cut a chain on the gate to get in. Three times, a thief cut and went through the fence.

On Wednesday, July 5, the community showed up.

Customers began arriving at the store with what Burks called “the three P’s” – prayer, participation and purchases. The rush started about 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 5, and lasted till about 1:30 p.m., and a some continued into the next day.

“It felt really good,” said Burks, who has worked in Santiam Feed, at the corner of 13th Avenue and Long Street, for 43 years and owned it about 33 years.

Burks has seen both the positives and negatives many times. “It felt good to have the positive side reinforced.”

Burks’ daughter, Mandy Redick, said she was taking care of her granddaughter, who was sick, and was late to water the nursery on Wednesday.

She went in to find her father “swamped by a flash mob of shoppers,” she said in a Facebook post. “The little red wagon was being pulled back and forth across the street, loaded with beautiful flowers. Some folks carried theirs. I saw Dad’s face.

“He beamed, and when he could, he said folks had encouraging words and many had even prayed with him.

“He was moved by the unexpected outpouring from the community, who by the Spirit allowed all things to work together for good. You all gave Mom and Dad a reason to be thankful in these circumstances.

“Thank you everyone for the support to Santiam Feed and Garden, but especially for the love you shared on behalf of our parents. In times of darkness, your beacons shine.”

Someone donated a new Radio Flyer wagon, Jason Redick said. “It’s amazing again what this town will do. They see somebody down, and they do everything they can to bring them up.”

Mandy Redick said the shopping mob was organized via Facebook.

Among those posting was Monica Sanders: “In case you haven’t heard, Garry at Santiam Feed was broken into,” Sanders wrote.

“Someone took bolt cutters and cut the chain off the garden area and stole several things, among them being the red Flyer wagon I enjoyed seeing. Garry and his wife have given so much to this community over many, many years. Let’s all show up and spend $10 on Wednesday, July 5, to show them our support as they’ve showed us through the years.”

Police Chief Jeff Lynn said that the department will focus patrols in the area to be a deterrent intervene if the police spot suspicious activity.

Anyone with information about the burglaries should contact the Sweet Home Police Department at (541) 367-5181.