It has been shamelessly lifted from the ABC web site
ELEANOR HALL: In Melbourne police have charged three members of one family with stealing from charity bins.
Police say the accused stole the clothing in order to sell it at a suburban market. Three charities are now cooperating with police to catch people who steal from charity bins.
The Salvation Army says theft and damage to charity goods cost them over $4 million last year.
In Melbourne, Alison Caldwell reports.
ALISON CALDWELL: Police believe a charity subcontractor is behind the theft of at least 12 tonnes of goods collected from bins in Melbourne's south-east.
They've charged two men and a woman with stealing donated clothing, toys and household items and selling them at suburban markets.
It's alleged what was left over would be passed on to the charities.
Police arrested the trio as a result of a raid at a house in Deer Park in Melbourne's west last night. They believe the family run scam had been operating for at least three years.
A 52-year-old man, his 46-year-old wife and their 25-year-old son were charged with theft, handling stolen goods and obtaining financial advantage by deception.
Police claim the man was a subcontractor for the Red Cross hired to collect donations from bins and deliver them to shops around the city.
It's alleged his wife sold the stolen clothing and electrical goods at a suburban market.
The Salvation Army is one of at least three charities working with police to catch charity bin thieves.
Salvos stores CEO Allen Dewhirst.
ALLEN DEWHIRST: It is a general rule that our bins get targeted and people steal from outside of our stores on a regular basis to sell at markets.
ALISON CALDWELL: He says thieves climb into bins or steal bags off the street and that many donations are destroyed when people rip open bags and throw the goods on the ground.
He says the charity loses well over 50 per cent of all donations as a result.
ALLEN DEWHIRST: I would say you would usually have to throw away about 70 per cent of what is left outside our stores because they destroy it. Between what they steal and what they destroy, we only get about 30 per cent left.
ALISON CALDWELL: Allen Dewhirst says increasingly organised gangs are targeting charity bins, more so than random one off thefts.
ALLEN DEWHIRST: Definitely St Kilda store is an example. There was a group who came every single night in a white van and so eventually we were able with the police's assistance to catch them.
We've had people caught at Noble Park, Deer Park in an organised way. It becomes a business for them.
ALISON CALDWELL: What's worse, he says, is the Salvation Army's bottom line takes a hit when donations are destroyed or stolen.
ALLEN DEWHIRST: We spent $4.5 million last year cleaning up other people's rubbish. By rubbish I mean good donations that have turned into bad donations by these kind of people
ALISON CALDWELL: And he has no sympathy for the people who steal from charities.
ALLEN DEWHIRST: If the people who were stealing from us were poor people, they couldn't afford to come into our stores and buy a $5 shirt you'd say, well, that is okay. We are the Salvation Army and we can live with that but it is not those people. They don't steal from us. It is the people who want to make money out of other people's donations and I think that is a disgrace.
ALISON CALDWELL: For now at least, the Salvation Army wants people to avoid leaving donations in charity bins or on the street.
Allen Dewhirst again.
ALLEN DEWHIRST: We really appreciate people's donations but please bring them to a Salvos store when our store is open.
ALISON CALDWELL: The trio arrested and charged last night will appear in court in April.
The transcript has been shamelessly lifted from the ABC web site